Gary Porter - 1966 Vietnam Combat Art Team
Gary Porter - 1966 Vietnam Combat Art Team
Brigadier General Joseph V. Potter, U.S. Air Force, Ret., and the present National Commanding General of the United States National Defense Corps., on Dec.5, 2009, bestowed upon Gary W. Porter, a Master Mason, the American Legion Medal of Valor for his participation in the numerable combat battles that occurred during his tour of duty in Vietnam as a Combat Artist for the U.S. Army Military History, Department of the Pentagon, in 1966 - 1967. Operations Attleboro and Shenandoah II are two of the Battles of note that were reported to have one of the largest counts of US casualties and killed in action at that time. Brother Porter honored himself, the US Army, and his country in those battles with actions beyond the call of duty for a Combat Artist.

A note of interest is that Brigadier General Potter was a close friend of Gary's while they were at El Cajon High School, in the late 50's, in the San Diego area, and both attended San Diego State University. During that time they played in the same Rock and Roll band, "The Debonaires", Joe was the drummer and Gary played Alto Saxophone. In 1965, Joe went into the Air Force to become a highly decorated "Ace" Jet Fighter Pilot and Gary chose the Army. It was not until 2009 that Joe started to write his "War Stories", his personal accounts of his battles, and sent the manuscripts for Gary to read, and then they put two and two together and found that they were both in the same battle “Attleboro” at the same time. Joe was in the air, Gary was on the ground, and they never knew it. Gary said, "Had it not been for Joe directing his rockets just ahead of us, to clear the area of VC, my name would be on that big black Vietnam Honor Wall instead of the walls of the Pentagon".

OD One-Pentagon Lost
OD, One Each - Lost at 9/11

Brother Porter completed 44 pieces of art during that time and 42 of them are now displayed at the Pentagon, two paintings were destroyed at 9/11. "The Battle of Attleboro", a very large oil painting, and "OD One Each" are now considered to be "Casualties of War" by the Pentagon. Gary will return to the Pentagon in April of 2010 to once again see the paintings that are now Historical Documentation of Army Military History. He has not seen them since they were completed in 1967.

Gary became a Mason in the year 2000 and has contributed three paintings to the Coachella Lodge depicting the three degrees of masonry and was commissioned by the Paul Talley family to paint a fourth depicting the interrogation of the Second Degree. Gary is now retired and is painting exclusively for other lodges and the private homes of Master Masons in the State of California. Ontario Lodge #301, Ontario Ca., now has eleven of his paintings in their lodge.

Gary is very active in the Order of Eastern Star, Coachella Chapter #360, with his wife BJ, past Deputy Grand Matron for 2009, and he was Worthy Patron for the years of 2004 and 2005.

3rd Degree Coachella

3rd Degree Ontario

2nd Degree-Clint Marshall

3rd Degree - Clint Marshall

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