Written by Sgt. Sinthia Rosario
101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (AA) Public Affairs
Bagram, Afghanistan – Beats of excitement and laughter rippled its way into the heart of the Task Force Lifeliner soldiers as they sit with cartoonists who draw the soldiers caricature.
The soldiers expressed their sincere appreciation for these talented artists especially after they looked at the comical reflections of themselves created by these professional cartoonists.Pvt. Alice M. Harris, a native of Pinellas Park, FL, and a human resource specialist with the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), heard the cartoonists were coming to the Task Force Lifeliner building and as a fan of MAD Magazine she dropped everything to meet some of her favorite cartoonist.
Harris exclaimed excitedly, “I went in there and I said hey, can you draw Spiderman because that’s my favorite superhero. He (Tom Richmond) said ‘yeah, I can draw Spiderman, that’s fine, I got something perfect for you…and man when he showed me…I was done; it was the best picture I’ve ever got!”
One by one the soldiers came up to the cartoonists to receive a personalized drawing as a special memento in remembrance of the occasion.
“I love it when people ask to do things like that, it gives me the chance to think up some gags or something funny to do with it,” stated Tom Richmond, cartoonist with MAD Magazine and national cartoonist president. “The Spiderman one, I wanted to do the upside down one Spiderman kissing from the first movie, it’s pretty popular so I thought it would be a good gag.”
The cartoonist visited on a United Service Organizations (USO) tour with the National Cartoonists Society (NCS), they (artist) visit troops that are downrange and then draw the troops comically just to bring a little bit of laughter during their deployment time. The NCS is an organization of professional cartoonist within the United States. It was formed in 1946 when cartoonist got together to entertain military troops. From then on they continued to visit on a regular basis.
Richmond proudly stated, “We are continuing that tradition. “Personally I just love the fact that I can come out here and meet the people that are defending our freedom overseas and try to bring some smiles to their faces, it’s the best part.”
Capt. Peter O. Mousseau, a native of Clarksville, Tennessee, and brigade human resource officer in charge for Task Force Lifeliner, spoke very highly about the cartoonists visit and how it brought cheer and home to the soldiers.
These events are important to the troops mostly because being away from the comforts of home while downrange; it gives them something to look forward too.
“I think it’s paramount, because everybody works so hard and in a stressful environment. It’s nice to take a break from the monotony of each day and have someone take time to come here and share their talents with us, talk to us and kinda get our minds out of work for that moment, expressed Capt. Janay M. Wilson, a native of Moreno Valley, CA, and Morale Welfare and Recreation officer in charge with the Combined Joint Task Force 101.
As the cartoonist finished up the last drawing, there was a sense of accomplishment, knowing that each of the soldiers day was brightened by just a simple silly picture.
“You know you make people laugh, make them smile; make them have a good time, exclaimed Richmond. “That’s why we do what we do; especially here where people can often times use a good smile and laugh. It’s very gratifying.”