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Third ID Commemorated in Painting

An exhibit of memorabilia from Iraq at the Fort Stewart Museum. An exhibit of memorabilia from Iraq at the Fort Stewart Museum.

On the one-year anniversary of the battle, members of the Third Infantry Division reflected on their role in taking Baghdad last night. They learned their part will be memorialized in a special painting dedicated to the soldiers from Fort Stewart.

One year after taking Baghdad, Spec. Matt O'Dell says it seems like it was only yesterday. "We didn't know what to expect," he told us. "People just looked at us weird. Stranger in a strange land, I guess."

O'Dell returned home last October. Looking at the items collected from Operation Iraqi Freedom--all on display at the newly reopened Fort Stewart Museum--he got a flurry of emotions. "Some good, some bad," he said. "We lost a lot of people I knew over there."

Spec. O'Dell lost five of his fellow soldiers before they even made it to Baghdad. Those five, along with 39 other fallen Third ID members, are memorialized at Warrior's Walk on Fort Stewart. Now, Jim Dietz, a nationally known painter, wants to memorialize the entire effort in a newly commissioned painting.

"In a hundred years, you'll have a lot of photographs of Iraq and whatever happens there," said Jim Dietz. "But somehow, a painting always carries more cache."

Dietz, from San Francisco, will begin work on a oil painting honoring the Third ID. At the same time, Spec. O'Dell claims the Third ID will be preparing for a return to Iraq. "I know we are training, prepping ourselves every single day for that," he said. 

O'Dell says soldiers expect to start returning to Iraq beginning in November. As for the painting, it should be ready for a mid-August unveiling at Fort Stewart.

Reported by: Don Logana,

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