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Gen. Schwartz portrait now hangs in Pentagon

Jan. 16, 2013 - 10:43AM   |   Last Updated: Jan. 16, 2013 - 10:43AM  |  
Former Air Force Chief of Staff retired Gen. Norton Schwartz, center, artist Michele Rushworth, left, and Suzie Schwartz (in red) watch the unveiling of Schwartz's official portrait Jan. 8 at the Pentagon.
Former Air Force Chief of Staff retired Gen. Norton Schwartz, center, artist Michele Rushworth, left, and Suzie Schwartz (in red) watch the unveiling of Schwartz's official portrait Jan. 8 at the Pentagon. (Jim Varhegyi / Air Force)
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The official portrait of retired Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz is now up, alongside those of all previous top uniformed leaders of the Air Force.

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The official portrait of retired Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz is now up, alongside those of all previous top uniformed leaders of the Air Force.

The painting of Schwartz, the service's 19th chief of staff, was unveiled at a ceremony Jan. 8 at the Pentagon.

"The Air Force has given us both a home," Schwartz said at the ceremony. "And now a portrait in the Arnold Corridor will be a lasting symbol that in America, and in America's armed forces, remarkable things are still possible no matter who you were, or where you came from."

Seattle artist Michele Rushworth painted the portrait.

"As I painted the portrait itself, my main goal was to convey something of the spirit of Gen. Schwartz," she said. "Any photo can tell us what he looks like, but a portrait painting is supposed to aim for something deeper, something of the inner character of the person — a feeling that lies beyond the visible. I try to capture the essence of the subject's character."

Schwartz was called out of an announced retirement to serve as chief of staff from August 2008 to August 2012. He led the Air Force as the service redoubled its efforts to protect the nation's nuclear weapons, supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and began to downsize personnel amid record-high retention.

Schwartz took the top uniformed post at the same time Secretary Michael Donley became the service's top civilian leader, a job Donley still holds.

"Unexpectedly, you were given an opportunity to extend your service. A second chance. This time to influence and shape the future of our Air Force," Donley said at the ceremony. "From this opportunity, through this service, the record will show you earned this place in Air Force history."

Several former officers and officials also attended the portrait's unveiling, including Schwartz's successor, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, Defense Undersecretary Ashton Carter, retired Army Gen. George Casey and retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen.

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