T-Wall Art

When you first arrive in Kuwait or Iraq, one thing that you immediately notice is the abundance of T-walls. These concrete barriers are everywhere, protecting people from the possible rocket or mortar attack. They are called “T-walls” because they look like an upside-down “T.” They have them in Baghdad as well, and the Iraqis use them to protect against blasts from suicide bombers or the like.

 There are thousands of the T-walls all over JBB. I’ve heard that they cost about $600 each, which means there is millions of dollars invested just in T-walls on this base. I’d say it’s a good investment, because it does add a sense of security, and probably deters rocket attacks. T-walls are a cost effective way of protecting from explosions.

 Only a tiny fraction of T-walls are painted. Most of them are painted with a unit symbol, naming the unit and the commander and senior NCO, and signed by the artists. These tend to be dreadful artworks. Some have symbols disclosing what sort of unit works at the place with the T-wall. Here is an example of one of the better such T-wall art collections (this building houses the chaplain, IG, EO, and Reserve Affairs offices, among others):

 T-Walls JBB

Many T-wall paintings are fading after years of exposure to the harsh Iraqi sun and dust. I’m always hesitant to sit on any T-wall base, because they are invariably coated with a thick layer of sand and dust, which I don’t like to get on my uniform. Here’s one that still looks pretty good, even after a few years:

 Mission Inn 259

Some T-walls have excellent art. An officer in my unit, Amanda Gatewood, has been trying to assemble a collection of the best art on JBB to make a book. Not sure how well that’s going, here is the very best T-wall art I’ve seen so far, located behind the Air Force Hospital:

 Mission Inn 279

Finally, one artistic medium that I thought I’d mention are coins. Some are very artistic as well, and these can be a bit expensive to procure. I’ve gotten 5 so far during my trip to Iraq. Here they are, sitting on my desk:


(clockwise from upper left:

  • 3rd ESC coin from BG Lally for getting the Hooah of the week for paying foreign claims.  Noteworth for the dogtag shape of the coin.
  • MNC-I coin from MAJ Bill Stevens for giving a nice presentation on foreign claims.
  • Air Force Chaplain coin given to me for going to church
  • “Tops in Blue” an Air Force music/dance performing group gave me the aluminum coin.
  • A personal coin from a MAJ Emmons (it has his name inscribed in it), given to me for giving legal assistance to him.

 Many other military folks have coin collections with dozens, sometimes over a hundred coins, and special display cases just to hold their coins.

 Much more could be said or photographed on the subject of military coins and T-wall art, but you get the idea now.


9 Responses

  1. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 09/14/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  2. I also have this coin for helping MAJ Emmons move the flower pots in front of there building. (Worked in the building directly across the street)

  3. My husband is in the military and has many coins from many officers. He has made a coin holder for himself and for his two sons and for some friends and bunk buddies while at Camp Buehring. He returned from Kuwait back in March. He has added ttwo or three coins to add to his holder since he came home.

  4. No more painted T walls at JBB. All of them were painted over with gray to hide the units. It was a real shame to have been appointed the unit that had to undo the amazing work by some fine artist over the years.I hope the Major that made us do it got his promotion for destroying history.
    I have some pictures if you would like a copy.

    • Please, I am collecting photos of all Twall Art and I would love for you to send/share your pictures with me thanks. Hwesson61@yahoo.com

    • I spent 6 years on JBB as a DoD Contractor. The T-Wall art was the most amazing part driving around the Base. Seeing these being painted over was a very sad feeling. But all of them where being trucked out when this Base was closing. This was my home from Sept 30 2005 to Oct 1 2011.

  5. That is a shame. I can’t imagine why they would paint over every t-wall. Many of these artworks did not disclose unit information. Some gave a list of every member of the unit, so I can kind of see why those might need to be painted over now that the Iraqi’s are on the base with US forces. A fine example of Military Intelligence at work.

  6. Hi, do you have contact details for Amanda Gatewood. I’m looking for F-16 related T-Wall photos for deployments which were at JBB. The F-16.Net website has a gallery containing various documented which is constantly updated

  7. Get a mini “T-wall” with a challenge coin by visiting http://www.soldiertwalls.com today! Proceeds help the Wounded Warriors program!

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