She’s part of Proudly She Served Portrait Series

PORTRAIT TRIBUTE — This portrait of Lt. Arabia Littlejohn Shanklin of San Diego, a native of Steubenville is included in artist Steve Alpert’s Proudly She Served Portrait Series paying homage to women in the United States military and veterans. -- Contributed

STEUBENVILLE — Artist Steve Alpert recently added the finishing brush strokes to the 12th oil painting in the Proudly She Served Portrait Series paying homage to women in the United States military and veterans.

And one of those women is Navy Lt. Arabia Littlejohn Shanklin of San Diego, a native of Steubenville, who balances a life that includes service as manpower analyst officer and the first inclusion and diversity officer for the Navy Region Southwest and being co-founder of the U.S. Naval Academy Minority Association while also finding time for acting interests.

Stationed in San Diego, Shanklin is a 2009 graduate of Steubenville High School who serves as manpower analyst officer and the first inclusion and diversity officer for the Navy Region Southwest and is the co-founder of the U.S. Naval Academy Minority Association. She is the daughter of Genevieve Littlejohn and the late Franklin Littlejohn Jr.

The series features large-scale portraits of extraordinary women military officers and enlisted personnel from each branch of the service. The portraits convey a message about each woman’s courage, strength, resilience and selflessness while serving in the military and in their lives as civilians.

The 36-inch-by-30-inch portraits present images of the generations of women in the American military from World War II to today’s conflicts. These everyday heroes have made significant contributions to their country through their service. The series of compelling portraits and their captivating stories are certain to inspire generations of women to follow in their footsteps, according to Allpert.

In announcing the completion of the portrait series during Women’s History Month in March, Alpert, executive director of the project, said: “I began this project to tell the story that women in uniform are just as courageous and capable of leadership as men soldiers. Simple as that. Women are unheralded as such, and I wanted to contribute to telling their success stories through portrait paintings in oil.”

Alpert reinvented himself as a professional landscape and later portrait artist after working nearly three decades in the TV news industry. He has created many artworks with military themes.

Proudly She Served project director and former military aviator Linda Maloney, currently an author and business owner, said the portraits “present a very positive message about these pioneering women who achieved significant careers in our country’s military. The women are very resourceful, innovative and deeply caring advocates for military veterans, especially those men and women who are transitioning to civilian life. They are also amazing role models for women who are focused on serving their country, families or communities while engaged in meaningful careers.”

Portraits were painted of a diverse group of active-duty U.S. military and veteran women from the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy and Women Airforce Service Pilots that included, in addition to Shanklin, the following:

– Kim Brooks, born in Portland, Ore., U.S. Marine Corps, Separated — Sergeant;

– Nicole Cimino, born in San Diego, U.S. Coast Guard, retired — Chief Petty Officer;

– U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, representing Illinois, U.S. Army, retired — lieutenant colonel;

– Kirstie Ennis, raised in Milton, Fla., U.S. Marine Corps, retired — Sergeant;

– Dawn Halfaker, raised in San Diego, U.S. Army, Retired – Captain;

– Bernice “Bee” Falk Haydu, of Montclair, N.J., U.S. Women Air Force Service Pilot (deceased);

– Miyoko Hikiji, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, U.S. Army, Separated — Specialist;

– Angel Hughes, raised in East Orange, N.J., U.S. Coast Guard, Separated — Lieutenant Commander;

– Nicole Malachowski, of Las Vegas, U.S. Air Force, retired — Colonel;

– Chaplain Karen Meeker, raised in Huntington Mills, Pa., U.S. Army, active duty — Colonel; and

– Louise Rand of Martins Ferry, U.S. Air Force — 1st Lieutenant (deceased).

For information visit the Proudly She Served website: https://www.proudlysheserved.com/

Shanklin graduated from the Naval Academy in 2013. Her first tour of duty was aboard the now-decommissioned USS Simpson (FFG 56), based out of Jacksonville, Fla.

She then conducted an AFRICOM and EURCOM deployment on USS Simpson and, upon return, received orders to Little Creek, Va., to became the command training officer and legal officer aboard the USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41), an amphibious ship with more than 500 sailors and Marines.

From May 2018 through April 2020, Shanklin was a flag aide (Navy verbiage, she notes) and aide-de-camp (Marine Corps verbiage, she adds) for commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Three, the largest expeditionary strike group in the world.

Shanklin transferred last April from the surface warfare community to the human resource community, assuming the role as a manpower analyst officer and the inclusion and diversity officer at Navy Region Southwest based in San Diego.

Shanklin is the co-founder of the U.S. Naval Academy Minority Association, established in March 2018 as a 501(c)(3) by six male alumni from the 1970s and Shanklin, brainstorming ideas on what minority midshipmen may need to be set up for success in the pre-admissions, while attending and post-graduation phase of the Naval Academy experience.

Another involvement for Shanklin is sitting on the board of directors for Mentorch, a social development network for mentorship.

In August 2017, Shanklin was featured in Vogue as one of this generation’s trailblazing Black servicewomen.

More recently she has pursued acting opportunities, appearing as a main character in the pilot for the television series “The Mayflower.”


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