Commemorative Painting Celebrates Unit’s Centennial

Aviation artist Kristin Hill last month presented officials at Beale AFB, Calif., with a commemorative painting honoring the centennial of the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, the oldest flying unit in the US military. “It’s an honor to receive this work of art and we will display it proudly,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Rodriguez, 1st RS boss, at the painting’s unveiling on March 7 in Beale’s Community Activity Center, according to a base release. The painting depicts a U-2 surveillance aircraft and RQ-4 remotely piloted aircraft, along with other platforms the unit has flown over the years. The 1st RS was born as the 1st Aero Squadron on March 5, 1913. Today, its members train U-2 pilots and mission planners as well as RQ-4 pilots and sensor operators. Hill said she drew inspiration for the painting from flying in a U-2 and interacting with the squadron. “I wanted to capture the service of men and women of the 1st RS. It’s my way of honoring their sacrifice,” she said. (See also Beale report by SrA. Shawn Nickel)