5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (NNS) -- Aviation Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Cyiah Wright has made new friends and a name for herself among the embarked helicopter squadrons aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) after painting murals on the bulkhead outside Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 70's ready room and on one of their chiefs' desks.
Painting the bulkhead began as a joke; she never expected it would lead to her getting to use her artistic talents while at sea.
"It started when I jokingly drew a picture and put it on HSM-70's door," said Wright. "They actually liked it a lot and talked to my division about having me actually paint something for them. They made me an honorary Spartan and everything."
Senior Chief Aviation Electronics Technician Carl Saunders, quality assurance supervisor for HSM-70, whose desk Wright painted, described how she came to be his squadron's unofficial artist.
"First, Petty Officer Wright painted our door, now she's painting our wall," said Saunders. "She did the painting where it says 'Bow Cats' (bow catapults) and we liked it, so she said, 'Give me some pictures and I'll paint your door, too.'"
Wright has had a life-long taste for art, and expressed excitement at being able to do it while serving her country in the United States Navy.
"My grandmother was in the Navy, and I want to go to art school, and a lot of my friends joined the military so it seemed like the natural thing to do," said Wright. "I talked to my family about enlisting and my grandma was really excited for me, and after joining it turns out I really like the Navy. It hasn't been an easy ride, but it's a ride I'm glad I took."
Personnel attached to HSM-70 expressed their appreciation for Wright's work and admiration for her talent. They also likened her to a famous artist.
"We love the mural," said Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 3rd Class Samantha Jelonnek. "It's beautiful and really well done. We all call her 'Da Vinci'."
Wright instantly became popular among the squadron personnel, who, Wright says, have adopted her as one of their own in appreciation for her work.
"I've made a lot of new friends doing this, and learned a lot about the helicopters," said Wright. "They've shown me the differences between the models and how they work."
Wright said one of the things she enjoys about being able to paint for the squadrons is the break from the rigorous monotony of deployment it has offered.
"My job doesn't really have a lot of down time, so any chance I get to paint, I jump on," said Wright. "I got permission from my division to paint these murals as long as I'm not late to muster or man-ups, and as long as I get all my work done first."
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