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Mon, May 29, 2023

CAF Lady Liberty Squadron Hangar Mural Dazzles

The Superlative Side of OK

The Commemorative Air Force is an American institution. The non-profit organization comprises over 13,000 members and pilots who, together, maintain and operate the world’s largest collection of warbirds.

Year-round, at airshows and fly-over events, Commemorative Air Force personnel and aircraft delight and inspire legions of onlookers while paying homage to the aviators and warfighters upon whose valor these United States were borne to greatness and by whose sacrifices they remain, ostensibly, free.

The aircraft hangar of the Commemorative Air Force’s Lady Liberty Squadron is currently being graced with a dazzling mural depicting America’s rich military aviation history. The work of art spans the doors of the classic, radius-roofed hangar on Oklahoma’s Enid Woodring Regional Airport (WDG)—draping the prosaic structure in the lavish raiments of pride and purpose.

Brilliantly executed in vast scale, dazzling color, and meticulously-lifelike detail by noted local painter Tox Murillo, the mural depicts a veritable panoply of America’s aviation luminaries—to include Charles Lindbergh, Wiley Post, Clyde Cessna, and local veterans Ralph Baker, Rachel Esbaugh, Colonel Leon Vance Jr., and Vietnam veteran Larry Stephens.

Mr. Murillo is renowned for his vividly-realistic murals, which adorn numerous area structures and address themes as diverse as vapid celebrities, U.S. history, and futurism.

Viewed from left-to-right, the Lady Liberty Squadron hangar mural occasions a chronology beginning with the early 20th Century heroics of Lindbergh and Post and continuing through less dramatic but equally-critical contributions of Clyde Cessna, his storied Silverwing aircraft, and the general aviation industry he would help forge.

The mural’s middle-section, in keeping with the charter of the hangar’s occupants, is underpinned by an eye-catching portrait of Lady Liberty, the squadron’s CAF-assigned, jet-black, A-26 Invader. The aircraft is depicted before a poignant portrayal of a U.S. war veteran reverentially resting his hand against the obsidian expanse of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial—over which the Statue of Liberty majestically rises, torch outstretched against a painted sky at once sun-filled and stormy.

Continuing to the right, the mural delves deeper still into the Vietnam Era, evoking the conflict’s restless ghosts by dint of a beautifully-rendered illustration of a squad of U.S. troops advancing—heads low, M16A1 rifles at the ready—before a flight of three, air-cavalry, UH-1 Huey helicopters.

The mural, by virtue of its masterful amalgamation of local and national pride, stands to attract aviation, art, and history-conscious people to the airport for years to come.

FMI: www.ladylibertya26.com

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