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Behold the majesty that is this painting of 'SEAL Team 1776'
Move over boring political portraits, your term is up.
It's time for SEAL Team 1776.
Packed full of figures from United States history and set against the backdrop of the U.S. Constitution, the January 2019 painting by artist and history buff Jason Heuser, shows a stoic George Washington flanked by his fellow presidents: Teddy Roosevelt with a Desert Eagle in the top left, and an M4-rocking Jimmy Carter in the left-hand corner.
Teddy Roosevelt (top left); Jimmy Carter (bottom left); George Washington (center) and Benjamin Franklin (right) embark on a mission to safeguard 'Merica.Jason Heuser/Deviant Art
"I was trying to think: 'Who would be a really random guy to put in there,'" Heuser told Task & Purpose. So, he settled on Carter, who despite having served seven years in the U.S. Navy was, "Not particularly known to be all that aggressive, and that's a big reason I thought that would be funny."
Rounding out the cast on the right is Benjamin Franklin, the founding father that Americans love mistaking for a U.S. president.
"He wasn't a president, but everyone thinks he was," Heuser said. "I hadn't seen the old presidents in modern military gear, so I thought it'd be interesting to see, and thought it'd be kind of funny to see George Washington kitted out in military garb, with modern gear."
"Most of my ideas are just oh hey, this'll be funny. Then I try to bring actual information in there, but each idea starts with 'this'll be funny, or this'll be random,'" Heuser said.
Historically accurate, and yes, that's Abe Lincoln riding a grizzly with an M4 in one hand and the emancipation proclamation in the other.Jason Heuser
His work is a who's who of historical figures with a heavy dash of "rah rah" 'Mericana thrown in. It's also largely satirical, which is something that has to be explicitly stated this decade.
After the FBI arrested Cesar Sayoc, who was suspected of mailing bombs to critics of President Donald Trump, Heuser's art made the news when an illustration he made of Donald Trump riding a tank, was found on Sayoc's van, according to an Oct. 2018 interview with Heuser and The Verge.
What half of Twitter thought this year's 4th of July "Salute to America" was going to look like.Jason Heuser
Then, in March 2019, another one of Heuser's pieces landed in the national spotlight after Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) unveiled a print showing President Ronald Reagan riding a velociraptor and firing a submachine gun, during a Senate vote on the Green New Deal.
Yup, that's Ronald Reagan on a velociraptor.Jason Heuser
"This is of course a picture of former president Ronald Reagan, naturally firing a machine gun while riding on the back of a dinosaur," Lee said during the Senate vote. "You'll notice a couple of important features here: first of all, the rocket launcher strapped to President Reagan's back, and then the stirring, unmistakable patriotism of the velociraptor holding up a tattered American flag, a symbol of all it means to be an American."
If you spend just a few minutes browsing the rest of Heuser's work on Deviant Art — which contains both Democratic and Republican figures, like Cybernie 2020, a light-saber wielding Obama on a lion, an FDR battle mech, and Abe Lincoln riding a grizzly bear — it can be hard to imagine how any of his paintings could be taken as anything other than playful humor, least of all a full throated endorsement of whoever or whatever happens to be depicted in those glorious prints.
But not everyone gets the joke.
"Especially the past few years as politics have heated up and things have gotten a little more divisive, people have become more blind to the humor and the satirical side of the art, and they start treating the art more like propaganda," Heuser told Task & Purpose.
"That's been a little weird for me as an artist," he continued. "I do this stuff to be funny and the original idea with all of this is I love history, and I see a lot of people don't like history and aren't really concerned about it, so this is my way to interject humor with art to try to get people somewhat interested in these people that we know: presidents and historical figures."
George WashingDONE with your crap.Jason Heuser
Given the current political climate and the take-everything-at-face-value mentality that's so pervasive in the 24-hour news and Twitter cycle, maybe Heuser's idea for SEAL Team 1776 will one day be discussed in complete seriousness in Washington or on cable news, much like Reagan on a velociraptor.
After all, art is in the eye of the beholder, and maybe it wouldn't be so bad: A top secret special mission unit assembled from the ranks of Congress and the White House might be one way to ensure politicians have skin in the game the next time they get all hot and bothered for a new war.
The Marine lieutenant colonel who was removed from command of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May is accused of lying to investigators looking into allegations of misconduct, according to a copy of his charge sheet provided to Task & Purpose on Monday.
President Donald Trump just can't stop telling stories about former Defense Secretary James Mattis. This time, the president claims Mattis said U.S. troops were so perilously low on ammunition that it would be better to hold off launching a military operation.
"You know, when I came here, three years ago almost, Gen. Mattis told me, 'Sir, we're very low on ammunition,'" Trump recalled on Monday at the White House. "I said, 'That's a horrible thing to say.' I'm not blaming him. I'm not blaming anybody. But that's what he told me because we were in a position with a certain country, I won't say which one; we may have had conflict. And he said to me: 'Sir, if you could, delay it because we're very low on ammunition.'
"And I said: You know what, general, I never want to hear that again from another general," Trump continued. "No president should ever, ever hear that statement: 'We're low on ammunition.'"
This 400-pound feral hog is one of more than 1,200 that have invaded a Texas Air Force base since 2016
At least one Air Force base is waging a slow battle against feral hogs — and way, way more than 30-50 of them.
A Texas trapper announced on Monday that his company had removed roughly 1,200 feral hogs from Joint Base San Antonio property at the behest of the service since 2016.
In a move that could see President Donald Trump set foot on North Korean soil again, Kim Jong Un has invited the U.S. leader to Pyongyang, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday, as the North's Foreign Ministry said it expected stalled nuclear talks to resume "in a few weeks."
A letter from Kim, the second Trump received from the North Korean leader last month, was passed to the U.S. president during the third week of August and came ahead of the North's launch of short-range projectiles on Sept. 10, the South's Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple people familiar with the matter.
In the letter, Kim expressed his willingness to meet the U.S. leader for another summit — a stance that echoed Trump's own remarks just days earlier.
Constant deployments broke the Air Force's B-1 fleet. Now the service is facing a major bomber shortfall
On April 14, 2018, two B-1B Lancer bombers fired off payloads of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles against weapons storage plants in western Syria, part of a shock-and-awe response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against his citizens that also included strikes from Navy destroyers and submarines.
In all, the two bombers fired 19 JASSMs, successfully eliminating their targets. But the moment would ultimately be one of the last — and certainly most publicized — strategic strikes for the aircraft before operations began to wind down for the entire fleet.
A few months after the Syria strike, Air Force Global Strike Command commander Gen. Tim Ray called the bombers back home. Ray had crunched the data, and determined the non-nuclear B-1 was pushing its capabilities limit. Between 2006 and 2016, the B-1 was the sole bomber tasked continuously in the Middle East. The assignment was spread over three Lancer squadrons that spent one year at home, then six month deployed — back and forth for a decade.
The constant deployments broke the B-1 fleet. It's no longer a question of if, but when the Air Force and Congress will send the aircraft to the Boneyard. But Air Force officials are still arguing the B-1 has value to offer, especially since it's all the service really has until newer bombers hit the flight line in the mid-2020s.