May 11, 2018

Thunderbolt nation mural highlights Luke’s heritage

Airman 1st Class Alexander Cook
Luke AFB, Ariz.

The team of Thunderbolt artists pose for a group photo in front the “Welcome to Thunderbolt Nation” mural at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., May 9, 2018. Over the course of a month, the team worked together to complete the mural, which represents Luke’s heritage.

“When I first drove onto the base, I noticed the wall and how blank it was,” said Staff Sgt. Brandon Garza, 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron logistics planner at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. “That’s when I knew something had to be done.”

After seeking approval from leadership, Garza came up with a concept design for the mural.. Garza then recruited three other Airmen he knew were avid painters: Airman 1st Class John Lindeman and Senior Airman Bridgette Thompson, 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintenance journeymen; Airman 1st Class Sarah Wisler, 56th Communications Squadron, network operations technician.

“There is a lot of heritage at this base that I feel wasn’t as broadly represented until now,” Garza said. “With this mural, I wanted to pay a tribute to all of the ones that have come before us as well as the aircraft that have been flown here. In the painting, we silhouetted all of the old warfighters and added color on our current fighter aircraft representing the progression of airpower here at Luke.”

Each Airman was proficient in a different style of painting. Garza has experience in graffiti art, while Lindeman is used to painting landscapes. Thomson enjoys painting portraits and for Wisler, fine art.

“With each artist having their own style and technical expertise, it was really cool to see everyone’s style blend together to complete this project,” Garza said.

Throughout the project, the team would evaluate their own work to ensure they were all on the same track.

“Communication played a big part,” Lindeman said. “Throughout the process, we had to provide honest feedback to one another to discuss what we liked and disliked about our work.”

Garza and the team hopes the mural will not only become a major landmark for the base but also provide visitors with a great location for a photo opportunity.
“We want this to be something people can remember when they come to Luke Air Force Base,” Garza said.

In the future, Garza plans to start an art club on base for aspiring artists to share and grow their passion in painting.

All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Aspen Reid

Air Force Surgeon General visits 56th Fighter Wing Medical Group

Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Aspen Reid Lt. Gen. Dorothy Hogg, Air Force Surgeon General, is briefed on the 56th Medical Group’s mission, Dec. 12, 2018, at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. The brief included details abo...
Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Alexander Cook

Honoring the life of Capt. Stephen “Trip” Grace

Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Alexander Cook A picture of Capt. Stephen “Trip” Grace is displayed during a memorial service Dec. 7, 2018, at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. Grace was assigned to the 61st Fighter Squadron...
Air Force photograph by Staff Sgt. Jensen Stidham

Australia F-35s leave in historic launch

Air Force photograph by Staff Sgt. Jensen Stidham A Royal Australian Air Force airman carries supplies into a C-17 Globemaster III at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., Dec. 3, 2018. The RAAF loaded the aircraft with airmen and suppli...