SNCO Academy student donates art to Enlisted Heritage Hall

Master Sgt. Jeffrey Kunkle recently donated his original painting to Gunter’s Enlisted Heritage Hall airlift exhibit. The sergeant, of the 86th Maintenance Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, recently attended the Air Force Senior NCO Academy and has promised to do more works of art for the museum.  (Air Force photo by Melanie Rodgers)

Master Sgt. Jeffrey Kunkle recently donated his original painting to Gunter’s Enlisted Heritage Hall airlift exhibit. The sergeant, of the 86th Maintenance Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, recently attended the Air Force Senior NCO Academy and has promised to do more works of art for the museum. (Air Force photo by Melanie Rodgers)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- For one Airman, attending the Senior NCO Academy at Gunter Annex meant more than listening to lectures and studying textbooks.

Master Sgt. Jeffrey Kunkle, 86th Maintenance Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, also became involved with the Enlisted Heritage Hall by donating one of his paintings to the museum's airlift exhibit.

The original painting was done for the 86th's 2007 banquet to commemorate 60 years of airlifting from Ramstein, and now hangs at the Gunter museum dedicated to enlisted Airmen.

The sergeant admits this is not the first time his artwork has ended up in the hands of the Air Force.

"I have been doing paintings for the Air Force since day one," he said. "Every school I have attended for the service has received an artistic legacy from me, and there is no greater honor for me than to see my work here."

Sergeant Kunkle is "anxiously looking forward" to doing additional painting for the museum. He said when museum-quality photographs or portraits of Airmen are not available, he would like to paint their portraits for the museum.

"Ever since I could get my chubby little fingers around a crayon, I have been involved in art," he said. "And today, about 80 percent of my work hangs in the homes of Air Force members, Air Force clubs and schools, or was commissioned by the service."

In his Air Force job, the sergeant is an aerospace ground equipment mechanic, but he incorporates his artwork into his career whenever possible.

"I love art, and I love being a mechanic in the Air Force," he said. "Whenever I can merge the two, it is very fulfilling."

The sergeant said that members of his family have been in the Air Force since the Korean War, and there has never been a time since 1952 there wasn't "a Kunkle in uniform."

"In addition to all the great stuff I've learned at Senior NCO Academy, for me to be able to leave a lasting legacy at the Enlisted Heritage Hall, well, that's icing on the cake," he said.