Unframed copy of a painting of the LeTort Spring Run on Carlisle Barracks by MG (Ret) Edward B. Atkeson (Class of 1969). This canvas giclee is stretched and ready for framing.
MG (Ret) Edward B. “Ted” Atkeson donated his original oil painting of the LeTort Spring Run from which this giclee was produced. He donated it to the U.S. Army War College on December 12, 2011 upon his recognition as an Outstanding Alum. The following is a summary of General Atkeson’s remarks at that ceremony attended by the Resident Class of 2012. He began by describing some problems with his orders that caused him to arrive in Carlisle almost a week after his classmates in the summer of 1968. With four small kids and a dog, he and his wife found all the quarters taken and rental properties committed.
“I would begin my academics only after finding too many apartments with a single bedroom. [The] one [we found was] a walk-up run by a retired staff sergeant, tucked away in the woods behind what was then the Officers Club, just a quick hop across the tributary to the LeTort Creek. The stream didn’t have all the fine stone walls which we notice today, so it was a bit more of a challenge in those times….
I was a student at the U.S. Army’s premier institution, maybe the best War College in the world, pretty big stuff. But in a little while, my wife got the idea that whatever I was honing in on was too narrow. I needed some culture, so art would be ‘it’ two nights a week. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, she would pack me off to art class here on the post. I learned to put a shirt on backwards and to get the buttons up the back, and then, I was to attack the canvas with vigor. What to paint? ‘Paint what you see,’ was the answer’s counsel. OK, what do I see about me other than blackboards and bulletin boards? I saw the tributary to the LeTort Creek that I had to jump twice a day to get to and from the College. This would be a challenge for the rest of the year. I was determined to capture that hazard on canvas. The teacher taught me to look far upstream to see the sky and clumps of trees in the way and to begin in the distance. She said, ‘Then bring the scene to you and fill in the details at your feet.’ It was kind of exciting, almost as much as jumping the stream, which my art teacher was counseling seemed to fit into the curriculum. Here at the College in class, we would look back at what had happened before and seek solutions to problems at our doorstep. Only then were we ready to leap into what the future might hold.
I offer this work to the College in that context–my donation to the College. You are coming to the top in a tough time. Like LeTort, some of the easy ways may have frozen over. I don’t know how the way will be for you, but whatever you find, I advise you to bring your view into clear focus before you attempt to jump the river. Then you’ll do just fine. I give my congratulations to all of you and thank you very much for your support.”
— Edward B. Atkeson
Watch the video of MG Atkeson presenting the original painting to the War College--> 2011 Outstanding Alum Video