INTELLIGENCE PROFESSIONAL REVIEWS
During the years I was privileged to be a staff officer one of my greatest perks was walking amongst the incredible museum exhibits and paintings displayed on the ground floor of CIA Headquarters. Watching other Agency employees hustling through the hallways – surrounded by our history – was always a humbling and thought provoking experience. The following declaration – emblazoned on a prominent wall – stood out as a testament to the enormity and gravity of CIA’s work. “We are the Nation's first line of defense. We accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot go.” In this beautiful calendar of CIA art the public can now enjoy a special selection of the paintings that trace CIA’s remarkable accomplishments –so often necessarily attained in great secrecy.
I am especially pleased that this calendar includes images from CIA’s paramilitary work. In 2010 then Director Leon E. Panetta observed “CIA’s mission has brought our silent warriors to the enemy’s frontier and beyond.” SECRET OPS OF THE CIA provides a visual tour of this extraordinary worldwide reach, highlighting CIA’s air proprietaries- Civil Air Transport, Air America, and their associated and successor aviation companies. The image of an Air America Bell UH-1 “Huey” helicopter chasing down two North Vietnamese AN-2 COLT bi-planes in January 1968 was a singular event in the Vietnam War. The resulting shoot-down of a fixed wing aircraft by a helicopter was an aviation first and marked the initial attempt in a bold communist plan that eventually destroyed a top-secret U.S. Air Force radar bombing installation located just miles from the North Vietnamese border.
Covert paramilitary missions in China and Southeast Asia – superbly shown in this calendar - provided essential experience for those Agency personnel who selflessly launched into Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001 attacks. The painting of the“911” MI-17 helicopter underscores CIA’s past and present “tip of the spear” role in America’s security.
History and great art combined, this calendar opens the window on the remarkable courage and technical wizardry of the men and women of the OSS and CIA.
Special credit must go to the artists, donors, and CIA Museum Director Toni Hiley for their years of work in creating and assembling the Agency’s singular art collection. Thanks to the vision and determination of Erik Kirzinger, the public can now learn more about CIA’s history.
-- Dr. Timothy N. Castle, former chief of counterterrorism and military programs, Lessons Learned, CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence.
The world of secret intelligence operations is beautifully revealed in this unique calendar of CIA art. For intelligence history to be memorable and relevant, it cannot be relegated solely to books and articles known only to specialists. It needs to come out of the shadows, it needs to be made visual, through images that spark the imagination. The makers of this calendar have done just that, assembling wonderfully crafted artistic portrayals, plus much useful background information and images, on some of the most daring and dangerous US paramilitary, espionage, and technical collection operations, conducted by amazing men and women of CIA and OSS. This is a calendar worth keeping long after the calendar year has become history.
--Dr. Nicholas Dujmovic, Catholic University of America, former CIA deputy chief historian
“Some of the most vital, history-altering CIA operations were conducted in secret, with no photographic records. At night, behind enemy lines, under oceans or in the skies, the brave officers, special forces, scientists, and operatives achieved their objectives – or not – and their acts of heroism and inventiveness remained hidden for years. This first-of-its-kind fine arts calendar assembles the commissioned and donated paintings now on the walls at CIA HQ in Langley, VA, capturing the essence of these covert operations, with details only a skilled draftsman can provide. A curated selection of photos join the beautifully reproduced art paired with descriptions of the motivations and outcomes of each event. The creators of this 2017 historical jewel are to be commended for their commitment to not let these patriotic efforts go unheralded – in our hearts and memories. This handsome calendar should hang in offices and homes to remind us of those who dedicated their lives for our freedoms.”
-- AFIO, Association of Former Intelligence Officers, Falls Church, Virginia
This historical collection of honorable deeds pays tribute to our fallen Civil Air Transport and Air America colleagues. From out of the shadows and into the light may we remember those exciting times and places, "Anything, Anytime, Anywhere Professionally."
Robert B. Noble, "Nobs," President of Air America Association.
Having been invited to view the CIA museum’s collection was a highlight of my career while working at The International Spy Museum. I am super excited to get to revisit the artwork collection in this stunning calendar. Appropriately admired daily!
Allison Bishop-Book Buyer-International Spy Museum
Erik Kirzinger has produced a splendid and unique collection of American history that shows the value of diligent research about subjects that for decades were shielded by official secrecy.
As a Washington-based journalist I have written about declassified aspects of three of the CIA missions in Mr. Kirzinger's collection, including the ill-fated Nov. 29, 1952 flight depicted in the "Ambush in Manchuria" painting.
Mr. Kirzinger has performed an important public service by assembling this detailed collection of once-secret events.
Robert Burns, National Security Writer
"I am proud to have several CIA prints on display in the League's national office and that I was involved with successful repatriation efforts for agency personnel KIA in Asia. Thanks to the collection's producer, Erik Kirzinger, I was honored to be invited to a number of the formal unveiling ceremonies held at Langley and at the French Ambassador’s residence. I met numerous participants and their families, so can attest to the impact this visual history of the CIA had on all most directly engaged. Inspired by a private citizen, working in close collaboration with the CIA Museum Director, SECRET OPS OF THE CIA is indeed a unique and revealing historical collection - a book of art, cleverly disguised as a wall calendar."
Chairman & CEO
National League of POW/MIA Families
From: Raquel L.
Sent: Saturday, July 09, 2016 7:37 AM
To: Erik Kirzinger
Subject: I love it!
Your gift (calendar) was amazing, I loved it!!! I Received it today. Best thing ever to know u still think of me all these years later.
I can't wait to kiss your face!
Agent Honey Pot