Composite Drawing by Don Stewart

Follow Me!

Follow Me is a visual history of the United States Army Infantry. The drawing is based on the statue created by sculptor/designer PFC Manfred Bass, and his assistant, PFC Karl H. Van Krog. The sculpture stands on the grounds of Fort Benning, Georgia, and outside of the base in the rotunda of the National Infantry Museum. Known affectionately by Infantry soldiers as “Iron Mike”, the figure in WWII era fatigues forever beckons the fighting men under his command to move forward into battle. This composite version of Follow Me focuses primarily on the uniforms, weapons, and related accouterments used by our soldiers from 1775 to the present, with emphasis on the Seven Army Values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. These are illustrated respectively by medals and insignia, including the Fidelity Medallion (Loyalty), Bugle Hat Insignia (Call to Duty), Golden Rule* (Respect), the Distinguished Service Cross (Selfless Service), Medal of Honor (Honor), Moral Compass * (Integrity), and the Purple Heart (Courage). * Designs adapted by the artist. Following Bass’s vision, the individual items in the drawing are first arranged to suggest rocky ground, biting into Iron Mike’s boots as he moves forward to engage the enemy, and onward into history. The pieces here are placed in a loose chronology, left to right, from 1775 to the present, interspersed with the medals noted above. The statue’s long legs are composed of muskets and rifles from the Revolutionary Period to the turn of the 20th century, along with bayonets and other edged weapons amenable to close-quarter fighting. Moving upward, the torso is comprised of images from the First and Second World Wars, followed by Viet Nam, melding into more modern rifles in his uplifted arm. Mike’s helmet is the just-released 2012 United States Infantry Silver Dollar. His face is composed of a rugged Jeep grille, with the eye of a marksman, and a ready call for Medics to assist his fallen comrades. In all, Follow Me is a tribute to the fighting spirit of those dedicated soldiers who close with the enemy over the Last Hundred Yards, and achieve Victory on the field of battle the old-fashioned way: Up Close and Personal.

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