There’s a special place in the E-Ring
’s heart for awesomely bad Air Force art -- all of those pictures lining the Pentagon’s walls depicting of out-of-proportion SR-71 Blackbirds streaking through wispy American eagle-shaped clouds, or the smudged-watercolor faces of hero aviators superimposed over American flags, contrails over rainbows, and harrowing 20th century dogfights in space that never really happened.
Among them, it turns out, hang the works of Chuck Hagel’s brother.
Michael Hagel is a professional illustrator. The brother of the presumed next secretary of defense once called himself “the poor man’s Normal Rockwell.” And who are we to argue? Here’s a link to a few of his illustrations
But it’s his Air Force art
that we love. According to Pentagon spokesman Carl Woog, Hagel has painted five pieces that hang inside the Pentagon, including perhaps his most famous, entitled "Simpson Harbor" http://www.sierra-art.com/product.php?productid=246, as well as "Playmate 13 to the Rescue," "The Bats of Sioux City," "A Heritage That Keeps on Growing," and "The Growth of Man's Wings (Wright Brothers)" (pictured above.)
The Wright Brothers, as you may imagine, are a popular subject in Air Force art. If you have the proper building access, you can see Hagel’s illustration of Orville and Wilbur, their heads forever linked by a rainbow over a lunar lander that is rocketing between them and over the Wright flyer, emerging from a line of geese flying into the sunset. Or is it sunrise?
It’s in the E-ring, on the 4th floor between corridors 9 and 10. Look on the inner wall between the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment, and Logistics and the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller. Obviously.
If you miss it, it’s opposite the large landscape painting of a ring of B-52s flying among the stars, in space, encircling planet earth. Yes, they’re in space.
"The Air Force has within its art collection 10 paintings that Michael
Hagel, donated between 1979 and 1991 from his private collection,” Woog told the E-Ring. “Subjects include the history of aviation, World War II air battles, fighters, cargo planes, and bombers.”
Hagel’s works also are found at Wright-Patterson (titles are “F-16” and “JN4 Jenny”), Hickam (Memories of a B-25”), Scott (Rainy Day at Kelly C-5), and Robins Air Force Bases (Old Reliable).
More Hagel prints are available through the museum gift shop
including Surrender Flight and “Entering Tokyo Bay.”