American Legion Post 85 in Virginia Square is getting a new mural.
The post at 919 N. Kansas Street — not to be confused with the nearby, under-construction Post 139 two blocks away — commissioned the work from Falls Church artist Mary Tjeng, who was busy painting when ARLnow stopped by Thursday afternoon.
The mural depicts Gen. Billy Mitchell, the post’s namesake and the “father of the U.S. Air Force.”
Mitchell “is one of the most famous and most controversial figures in the history of American airpower,” says an old website for the Legion post. “So great was his impact on the Army Air Service and its successor organizations that the effect is still being felt. During Mitchell’s meteoric military career, he charted new paths, set new standards, and influenced key leaders for decades to come.”
“Mitchell was twenty years ahead of his time when he put forth his detailed vision of a hazardous future,” the website says of the general, who served in World War I and died in 1936 after retiring to a farm in Middleburg. “He is also the only individual after whom a type of American military aircraft, the B-25 Mitchell, is named.”
The mural, which recently received some attention from National Defense magazine’s Twitter account, will adorn an exterior wall that’s partially visible from Wilson Blvd.
A muralist painting tribute to “father of the Air Force” Gen. Billy Mitchell. American Legion Post No.85 in Arlington, VA pic.twitter.com/5aLcqAxw5S
— National Defense (@NationalDefense) July 15, 2021
Jay Westcott contributed to this report
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