Shown here are two commissioned portraits by Harrison Edward Benton Jr. of Fort Washington, Md., a painter, illustrator and photographer who is a visual information specialist with Air Force Intelligence Service at the Pentagon.
"Portrait of a Fighter Pilot," left, depicts U.S. Air Force Pilot Col. Fred V. Cherry, a prisoner of war in Vietnam from October 1965 until February 1973. Cherry defied his captors despite surgery without anesthesia, repeated beatings and 702 days in solitary confinement. His extraordinary heroism resulted in the awarding of the Air Force Cross, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star with Valor and two Purple Hearts.
The bottom left portion of the painting portrays Cherry undergoing interrogation and the right portion was taken from a photograph made soon after his release, when a friend gave Cherry a long-awaited American cigarette. The portrait, which hangs in the Pentagon's Arnold Corridor in a special section honoring Air Force prisoners of war in Vietnam, is included in the Air Force Art Collection. It was featured on the cover of a recent "Airman" magazine, the official magazine of the U.S. Air Force.
Another of Benton's portraits, above, depicts Gen. Daniel "Chappie" James Jr., who was the first black four-star general. The work was commissioned for "The Family Tree," a series of televised historical vignettes on the black experience in American life that was produced by WDVM-Channel 9 for the Evening News Association and directed by Wallace Terry.