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Feature Stories

NEWS | Jan. 14, 2020

103rd ESC Soldiers leave mark on Camp Arifjan

By Staff Sgt. Godot Galgano 1st Theater Sustainment Command

On a busy street on Camp Arifjan, a t-wall faces the street in full view of everyone who walks by that displays a mural that includes a grim looking Spartan skeleton.

Painted over the course of four weeks in October and November 2019, the mural sits outside of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) compound as an everlasting reminder of the 103rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command’s contribution to the 1st TSC’s mission.

The Soldiers who painted it are Sgt. Angel Bastidas-Pineda, a transportation land movement non-commissioned officer, and Sgt. Kenneth Eisele, motor sergeant, who are assigned to 103rd ESC.

The design for the mural came from Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Hassler, senior enlisted advisor, 103rd ESC, who selected the two Soldiers based on their known artistic skills.

“I wanted to show everything that represents what the 103rd does and is in one mural," said Hassler. "The symbolism encompasses what it means to be part of the 103rd ESC."

Numerous murals like these decorate the eight-foot barriers that surround and protect the roads, living pads and buildings on Camp Arifjan. For the Cactus Soldiers, working on the unit mural was a chance to leave their lasting mark on the unit and add to its history.

"It is important to leave a part of history behind and a marker so people know we were here and we took pride in our work." said Eisele. "As this will withstand the test of time, it’s important to me and to the unit because it feels like we are leaving a legacy and future deployments will see it and say this mural looks good; the 103rd ESC must have been a great unit."

Bastidas-Pineda is on his first deployment, and this is his first mural, but he is no stranger to painting. He has been doing artwork since he could remember.

"Art is a passion for me," he said. "I have been doing art since I was six; kids would come up to me and ask me to draw stuff for them, and I would draw whatever they asked, sign it, and give it back to them."

He took that passion and eventually went to college for graphic design which he does in his civilian job in Fargo, N.D., as a freelance graphic designer and comic book creator.

Bastidas-Pineda has been amazed by the outpouring of support and praise he has received for the mural

"People I don't even know have come up to me to say great job on the mural," he said. "I guess ever since I became an artist part of me always wanted to be recognized for my work, and it makes me feel like a star."

However, he realizes that the mural represents more than his artistic ability on display.

"It's about unit pride and building up morale," he said. "You have to believe in what you are doing and the unit you are a part of."