TWENTYNINE PALMS — The effort to restore the iconic “Desert Storm Homecoming and Victory Parade” mural on Adobe Road took a big step forward Sunday, Nov. 10.
Volunteers from Action Council for 29 Palms, which commissioned the Chuck Caplinger mural in 1995, raised $11,079, toward their $45,000 goal at a fundraising kickoff at the Old Schoolhouse Museum.
A second fundraiser is set for Friday, Feb. 7, but volunteers are still working on details.
“The fundraiser yesterday was a big success, not only for the funds raised, but just as importantly, for the enthusiasm that was displayed for the project,” Caplinger said a day after the event.
“The enthusiasm displayed was reminiscent of the year 1995 when the mural was first painted and officially unveiled.”
Action 29 plans to have Caplinger to repaint the mural in March and April.
“My assistants will be artist David Green and, of course, my favorite mural sidekick, wife Holgie,” Caplinger said.
This time around, Caplinger plans to use a UV-rated acrylic paint made specifically for outdoor use. The wall will be professionally prepared and coated before the first brush stroke is applied, then clear-coated when the painting is done, Caplinger said.
“Even considering the fact the mural is on a south-facing wall, with periodic maintenance, the mural will last for years to come,” the artist vowed.
Dedicated Oct. 15, 1995, the mural depicts the return of troops to Twentynine Palms after the first Iraq War in 1991. It is painted on a wall at 6177 Adobe Road.
“Many of you in this room were involved in Action Council many years ago. We just want to thank you for the vision that you captured 25 years ago in bringing the beautification of our buildings with the murals here to Twentynine Palms,” said LeeAnn Clarke, chairwoman of Action Council for 29 Palms, during the fundraiser.
“The vision is to repaint the exact mural on the exact wall, so that we can bring back that iconic moment here in Twentynine Palms.
“It is the 29th anniversary of the end of the Persian Gulf War in 2020 and it’s Twentynine Palms. So with that, the buzz is going on so we are really excited about our plans for this.”
Caplinger shared why the mural is significant.
“This mural that we are proposing to restore is not only important to our community but the service as a whole and our friends on the base that represent our country and work so hard to keep us safe,” he said.
The mural was a huge personal milestone for Caplinger.
“It was my first outdoor mural. I had done maybe a dozen indoor murals in Texas, Georgia and wherever in the south but this was my first large outdoor mural,” he said.
“I’ll never forget the first day I showed up to paint the mural. I stood in front of the wall, I’m like … what the hell did I get myself into.”
Gunny Sgt. Jefferey Caraway helped find copies of the uniforms and equipment depicted in the mural to check for accuracy.
He reached out to historians and the Marine Corps to make sure the mural was accurate and they confirmed it was correct.
“It’s a pleasure to be a part of this whole process and definitely get to absorb some information from Chuck,” Caraway said. “I’m also an artist so it is great to do those things. I’m trying to motivate and inspire some of the junior Marines to be a part of this as well.”