1204th creativity in Kuwait

Story and photos by Sgt. Tasha Fields, 1204th ASB Unit Public Affairs Historian Representative

NOTE:  Each week kentuckyguard.com publishes stories by or about Kentucky National Guard unit public affairs historian representatives, also known as UPAHRs.  This is an additional duty taken on by a Soldier or Airmen with the intent of telling their unit’s story.  This is one such story ….

1204th Welding in Kuwait 05

Spc. Dale Salsman of the 1204th Aviation Support Battalion cuts the outline of a guidon stand in Camp Buehring, Kuwait. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tasha Fields)

CAMP BUEHRING, KUWAIT — What starts as pieces of rubble from scrap yards turns into pieces of artwork when Sgt. Chad Ward and Spc. Dale Salsman are finished.  Ward, non-commissioned officer in charge of the weld shop, has been welding for a little over eight years and gained his knowledge through military school.  His first projects included minor repairs on vehicles and farm equipment.  Salsman however, has been welding for 20 plus years.  The assistant team leader started making things like chessboards with a gradual progression to bed frames and larger items.

When asked what makes welding so interesting, Salsman said he uses it to relax and it helps him deal with stress.  Ward said his excitement comes from the reactions on other’s faces when they see the completed project.

To see more photos from this story, click here

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Detail of the 1204th ASB guidon stand. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tasha Fields)

The creative side of Ward came out when he met Salsman.  The two of them complement each other.  One has the talent, which allows the other to start thinking of the next project.  They have no issues taking constructive criticism from one another.

Their teamwork is used to put the completely freehand projects together.  Salsman cuts while Ward paints.

“It feels good to be able to work with someone like Specialist Salsman,” said Ward.  “He should be doing this for a living, he’s just that good.  He’s like a tattoo artist with a torch.”

They use a variety of materials for finished projects such as steel, stick welder, oxy fuel (torch), grinders file, paint, and nuts and bolts.  One project can take up to four days, depending on the number of parts and the detailing of the paint job.

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Sgt. Chad Ward (left) and Spc. Dale Salsman of the 1204th Aviation Support Battalion, stand with a newly created guidon stand in Camp Buehring, Kuwait. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tasha Fields)

Since being in Kuwait, the two have created four guidon stands.  The first one was for the incoming commander for the 1204th in February 2012.  When describing this project, the two agreed that getting the color right was challenging due to rain and sand storms.  When other units saw this artwork, they wanted one as well.

Salsman said, “It’s great to be able to take a bunch of trash and make something out of it.”

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