KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Maj. Loren Adams of New Liberty, Iowa, veterinary officer for the 734th ADT, teaches Kunar Women's Shura member Sohila how to tie (click for more)
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – TF White Eagle doctors wash an Afghan woman`s burned leg to prepare her for further treatment. (click for more)
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Two Afghan girls peek out of a schoolhouse window in the town of Kachur Jan. 15. (click for more)
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - A town barber trims the beard of a village elder in the town of Kotalay Jan. 10. (click for more)
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Sgt. Heather Eberle of Altoona, Iowa, combat medic with the 734th ADT, makes friends with Afghan children inside their home compound in (click for more)
PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Staff Sgt. William R. Haley (left), fills out paperwork while U.S. Army Spc. Joshua A. Knaack looks on. Both are Sioux City, (click for more)
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Pfc. Ryan B. Stuart of Brooklyn Park, Minn., assigned to Task Force Storm, provides security for Afghan National Security Forces in Kharwar (click for more)
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Members of the 1st Coy, 1st Kandak ANA prepare to disrupt and prevent insurgents from planting an IED on a road near Tatanak Village in Zormat (click for more)
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Mohammed Anwar, the cousin of a shop owner in Mata Khan District, sews a scarf here Jan. 10. (click for more)
His hands, stained with ink and caked with dirt, pick up his body armor and helmet before leaving the dimly-lit plywood building on top of Observation Post Mustang.
The wind whips and the air is crisp on the 6,500-foot tall mountain in the Kunar Province. Schlueter pulls on his gloves and adjusts his fleece jacket underneath before settling down to look through various sets of binoculars and scopes at the draws, spurs and ridges surrounding the small observation post.
For the last nine months in eastern Afghanistan, pulling guard has been Schlueter’s job as a cavalry scout assigned to Troop C, 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, Task Force Bandit, of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.
“I do my job ‘cause it’s my job, but my hobby is art,” said Schlueter. “Taking a blank piece of paper and making something out of it is just a way of reminding me why I’m here and what’s going on.”
Since the age of 6 growing up in Okinawa, Japan, Schlueter has been using art as a way to express himself. His mom would buy him coloring books but complain that he wouldn’t color in them; instead he’d trace the outlines.
While living at the top of Afghanistan, he has plenty of outlines to trace now.
“You got all these mountains,” said Schlueter. “Especially the clouds and everything that are here, it’s crazy. Where I’m from in Nebraska, it’s all flat. I mean, you get to see clouds and stuff but not like it is here. It’s … it’s … it’s ridiculous.”
Schlueter, from Bellevue, Neb., draws everything from mountains to people to animals to surrealistic landscapes to whatever his buddies ask of him.
“When people see something they want to draw and get something off their mind, that’s usually when I come into play,” said Schlueter. “They say, ‘Hey Schlueter, draw this,’ and it gives them a laugh.”
Since following his older cousin and sister into the Army, he put his talents to use at sometimes odd times.
“I was in basic training, and the night before you get out when everybody’s cleaning and everything, I got told to paint the barracks – all three floors,” Schlueter said. “I painted everything. And then I painted the squadron rock, which the squadron sergeant major gave me a coin for, because he was really impressed with it.”
In the tactical operations center at Observation Post Mustang, Schlueter has been working on another piece.
The past few days he has been hunkered close to a large eagle he’s drawing around his unit’s crest. Past unit emblems adorn the TOC walls providing a welcomed respite to the utilitarian maps, charts and electronic wires.
“It’s nice to work on a piece that’s going to be around for a while,” said Schlueter. His squadron’s blue and red logo covers nearly half of a TOC wall.
He added that Soldiers’ esprit de corps could also be affected on their hilltop living quarters because of his efforts.
“I’ve been told the reason why Wal-Mart’s blue is because it helps people who are shopping be more relaxed. So yeah, I guess it makes people have better morale,” said Schlueter with a laugh.
From humble beginnings as a child “ruining” coloring books in Japan, Schlueter has come a long way. Now he uses his hobby to help bring a little more color to Army green.
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