A CAT IN THE HALL, ON THE WALL
In all my early years as a member of the Hellcats, I had often thought there should be a visual representation of a Hellcat as a logo for the group. In 1989 I attempted my first Hellcat sketch which was essentially Garfield stuffed into a uniform coat.
I presented it to the group leader, SGM Dave Brzywczy, with my thoughts of creating an official logo. He agreed that a logo would be good for the group but he didn’t believe Garfield was the image we were going for. I next tried a thinner cat based on the Pink Panther.
Dave was again less than impressed. He showed me some images of logos used by Navy jet fighter squadrons and suggested our cat should be more pumped up and a little more aggressive looking like these. So after a few changes, rejections and a lot more changes we finally settled on the current cat with his slightly more bulked up body and more aggressive demeanor. Since I was in publicity and responsible for sending out Hellcat Publicity packets, I began including the image in the packets. I was always pleased when someone actually used the image.
Prior to 1990 when entering the Hellcat area, you were greeted by a large blank wall. I envisioned this wall as a great place for the cat. Maybe we cats were stuck down in the dungeons but I thought maybe a little flash of cat pride could really make us stand out in the building. In the late summer of 1990 I asked for and got permission from the band SGM (Bob Moon) to paint the cat there.
Placing the image on an overhead opaque projector, I projected it on the wall and with the assistance of fellow drummer John Westmacott we penciled the image on the wall. I painted the Hellcat using enamel paint bought at the hardware store in Highland Falls. For extra effect I added ranger eyes so his eyes would glow down the hall in the darkness. This tended to freak out duty NCOs as they did their nighttime rounds. People kept removing his eyes and I kept replacing them. After a while I finally gave up and left him with only his devil red eyes.
I always had hopes that the cat would eventually catch on. I’m very happy to see him still standing there after almost twenty-five years.
Words By: Donald Trefethen (MSG Ret.) 2014