The Contrails: Air Force Academy displays

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  • U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs

(Editor's note: The exact text contained on pages 37-51 of this year's edition of The Contrails is seen here.)

Air Force Academy Displays


McDonnell-Douglas F-15A Eagle

Location: Southwest corner of the terrazzo

This 1976 model F-15 flew most of its career with the 48th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS) located at Langley AFB, VA. The 48 FIS flew the jet on intercept missions for the Southeast Air Defense Sector. The jet was painted in the colors of Tyndall AFB, FL, for its last few missions before it was retired on 30 November 1992. It was donated in the spring of 1993.

General-Dynamics F-16A Fighting Falcon

Location: Northwest corner of the terrazzo

Originally a non-flying test bed aircraft, this F-16 was donated by AFMC (formerly AFSC) at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, and is presently painted in the colors of the 57th Fighter Weapons Wing at Nellis AFB, NV.

Republic F-105D Thunderchief

Location: Northeast corner of the terrazzo

Assembled at McClellan AFB, CA, from parts of at least 10 sister aircraft that saw combat duty in Southeast Asia, this aircraft has served as a permanent memorial at the Academy since 1968.

McDonnell-Douglas F-4D Phantom II

Location: Southeast corner of the terrazzo

This is the only aircraft credited with six MiG kills since the Korean War. Captain Richard S. Ritchie, Class of 1964,made his first and fifth kills in this aircraft. It was presented to the Academy in 1986.

Martin-Marietta SV5-J Lifting Body

Location: Near Aeronautics Laboratory

Built in 1966, the SV5-J was capable of high-speed, maneuverable flight from altitudes to landings on conventional runways. Using its entire body to provide lift, the SV5-J’s mission was to explore flight characteristics and to develop pilot techniques for Space Shuttle reentry flights.

It was given to the Academy in 1981 by Martin-Marietta.

General Atomics MQ-1B Predator

Location: Southwest corner of dining area

The Predator is a medium-altitude, long endurance remotely piloted aircraft. Its primary missions are close air support, air interdiction, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Whether the system will continue to gather intelligence while hanging in Mitchell Hall is classified.

Air Force Satellites

Location: Clune Arena Ice Rink

In the corners of the hockey rink are two satellites representing Air Force space superiority. A Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite which provides positioning, navigation, timing and velocity information worldwide, and a Wideband Global SATCOM Satellite which provides high capacity military communications.

Boeing B-52D Stratofortress

Location: Intersection of North Gate and Stadium Boulevards

This bomber, nicknamed “Diamond Lil,’’ saw over 200 combat missions in Southeast Asia, eight of which were during Linebacker II. In one of these missions, tail gunner A1C Albert C. Moore shot down a MiG-21.

Northrop T-38 Talon

Location: Thunderbird Overlook

This trainer aircraft, similar to those used in Undergraduate Pilot Training and formerly flown by the Air Force Thunderbirds, was given to the Academy by Randolph AFB, TX, in 1973.

Fairchild-Republic A-10A Thunderbolt II

Location: Adjacent Thunderbird Overlook

Captain Robert R. Swain, Class of 1979, flew this A-10A, nicknamed “Chopper Popper.” His first aerial victory in the craft, over an Iraqi Bo 105C helicopter, was on 6 February 1991. This aircraft is on loan from the National Museum of the US Air Force, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH.

Cessna T-41A Mescalero

Location: In front of the 306FTG building

The T-41 was acquired from Lackland AFB, TX for static display in 1995 after T-41 Flight Training was phased out at the Air Force Academy. The T-41 is the military version of a Cessna 172 and was used for pilot indoctrination training.

Over 17,000 cadets were trained in the T-41, accumulating close to 1 million flying hours. The aircraft is painted in Air Training Command High Visibility Scheme along with the Air Force Academy Crest on both sides of the vertical stabilizer.

North American F-100 Super Sabre

Location: In front of Prep School

Nicknamed the “Spirit of Saint Louis II,’’ Brig General Robinson Risner reenacted Charles Lindberg’s flight across the Atlantic with this airplane. It is dedicated to General Risner for his dedication to the Air Force and his quest for excellence.


Fairchild Hall

Medal of Honor Wall

Location: West side of the second floor

This wall features the fifty-nine Air Force members to receive the Medal of Honor. Each recipient has a portrait and a description of the act that qualified them for the Congressional Medal of Honor. There were four awarded in WWI, thirty-eight in WWII, four in Korea, twelve in Vietnam, and one to Charles Lindberg for his trans-Atlantic flight.

Memorial Hallways

Location: Second floor

The hallways commemorate major victories and campaigns that mark Air Force history. The hallways are arranged in chronological order from north to south: St. Mihiel, Doolittle Raid, Big Week, Berlin Airlift, MiG Alley, Linebacker II, and Desert Storm.

Orville and Wilbur Wright Statues

Location: McDermott Library, top of the spiral staircase

These bronze busts are to commemorate the conviction and effort that made powered flight possible. They were donated to the Academy by Col (Ret.) Milton Seaman, USAF, in April of 1979. Across from the Wright Brothers is a bust of Charles Taylor, the engineer who built the engine for the Wright Brothers’ first powered flight.

Rifle Collection

Location: McDermott Library, surrounding the spiral stairway

Lieutenant General Albert P. Clark, sixth Superintendent of the Academy, donated his personal rifle collection on 14 March 1973. This collection of 31 military shoulder arms includes examples of principal types issued to US troops from 1763 to the 1970s.

Brig General Robert F. McDermott Display

Location: McDermott Library, inside to the left of entrance

General McDermott, known as the “Father of Modern Military Education,” served as the first permanent Dean of the Faculty, 1956–1968. He was responsible for creating the core curriculum, academic majors, and the Permanent Professors’ badge. Additionally, there is a bronze bust of him, donated by USAA, located outside, south of the library entrance.

Jacqueline Cochran Display

Location: McDermott Library, base of the spiral stairway

This case displays the WASP (Women’s Airforce Service Pilots) founder’s trophies and awards. Among them are the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters. It was donated by Col. Cochran in 1975. Ms. Cochran’s memorial service was held in the Cadet Chapel on 6 November 1980.

Colonel Richard Gimbel Aeronautical Library

Location: Sixth floor of the library

This elegant room holds more than 20,000 items dating from 2700 BCE to the present, over 5,000 rare books dating from the 15th century, as well as aeronautical prints, etchings, coins, and other memorabilia of flight.

Other displays in the Library

Location: McDermott Library

The Library also contains portraits of most of the AF Chiefs of Staff, a bust of Stuart Symington, first Secretary of the Air Force, 1947 – 1950, a collection of all the class rings, a replica “Wright Flyer” aircraft, and aviation art by Henri Farre, Frank E. Beresford, Wilson P. Hurley, and other historic paintings.

Sijan Hall

Captain Lance Peter Sijan Memorial and Portrait

Location: Far NE Stairwell of Sijan Hall

This case contains many items of Captain Sijan’s personal life and cadet career. Included are uniforms, original Sijan artwork, photographs, and cadet memorabilia. Maxine McCaffery painted the full-size portrait of Lance Sijan especially for Sijan Hall. These displays were dedicated Memorial Day, 31 May 1976.

Terrazzo and Air Gardens

Eagle and Fledgling Statue

Location: South end of the Air Gardens

This two-ton statue was given to the Academy from personnel of Air Training Command in 1958. The quotation on it reads, “Man’s flight through life is sustained by the power of his knowledge,’’ by Austin “Dusty’’ Miller.


War Memorial

Location: North end of the Air Gardens near the flagpole

The memorial consists of three 7’x 21’ slabs of polished black Starlite granite, and serves to remember the 182 Air Force Academy graduates who have lost their lives in combat. The inscription at the top reads, “In memory of our fellow graduates who have fallen in battle.’’ It was presented to the cadet wing by the Association of Graduates on 10 Oct 1970.

At the dedication, Brig Gen Robin Olds, the Commandant of Cadets, stated, “This monolith of simple beauty contains the names of graduates of the Air Force Academy who have given their lives in combat. Each was a gallant man, devoted to his country and proud of his heritage. Each died bravely, as one’s country sometimes calls upon her sons to do.

Remember these names. Honor them. They are a part of you, the wing. They represent your past, as you today represent our future. Reflect on their example of selfless devotion to duty, and gain courage so that when you face your test you may add honor and glory to the annals of the wing - and of the Air Force - and of our country.”

Brig General Robinson Risner Statue

Location: North end of the Air Gardens

This bronze statue was dedicated in commemoration of General Risner’s outstanding service in times of adversity on 16 November 2001.

9/11 Memorial

Locaion: NW Corner of the Terrazzo

The centerpiece of the memorial is a steel girder from the World Trade Center, donated to the Academy by the National Homeland Defense Foundation. It is held up by two pieces of marble, parallel and vertical, that represent the Twin Towers. The base of the memorial is in the shape of a pentagon, inscribed with the words “World Trade Center,”

“The Pentagon,” and “Shanksville, Pa.,” to denote the three places attacked on 9/11.

Cadet Honor Court

Tuskegee Airman Memorial

Bronze statue in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen Donated: 6 May 1988 by the Hook-Jones Chapter (Colorado) of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

The quotation on it reads, “They rose from adversity through competence, courage, commitment and capacity to serve America on silver wings and to set a standard few will transcend.’’

Women Airforce Service Pilots Memorial

Donated: On 4 September 1997.

The quotation on it reads, “I, salute ALL WASPS. You have been pioneers in a new field of wartime service. You have shown that you can fly wingtip to wingtip with your brothers.”

WWI Overseas Fliers Memorial

Bronze wings in honor of WWI overseas fliers.

Donated: 11 November 1984 by Ira Milton Jones, president of WWI Overseas Fliers Association.

Lt General Hubert R. Harmon Memorial


Bronze bust is in honor of Lt General Harmon.

Donated: 1984 by the Class of 1959 at their 25th reunion.

Brig General William “Billy” Mitchell Memorial


Bronze bust in honor of General Mitchell.

Donated: May 1989 by Lt Col Jerry McKenna

General Jerome F. O’ Malley Memorial


Bronze bust is in honor of General O’Malley.

Donated: 1987 by Mr. H. Ross Perot

He was one of the first air training officers at the Academy who later became Commander-in-Chief of Pacific Air Forces and Commander of Tactical Air Command.

General John D. Ryan Memorial


Bronze bust in honor of the seventh CSAF, General Ryan.

Donated: 3 November 1989 by his classmates (Class of

1938, USMA).

Colonel James Jabara Memorial


Bronze bust in honor of Colonel Jabara, the first jet ace.

Donated: 2004 by Ed Courey

All of the Warbird Memorials, known to those who

donated them to the Academy as “The Study Hall,” stand upon the Honor Court. Each warbird group gave these sculptures hoping to affect and educate those who visit and study at the Academy. All are the works of sculptor Robert Henderson whose only son graduated from the Academy in 1992.

B-17 Flying Fortress Memorial


16th scale cast bronze replica.

Donated: 22 August 1997 by the 305 Bomb Group

Memorial Association.

B-24 Liberator Memorial


16th scale cast bronze replica.

Donated: 25 September 1998 by the B-24 Groups Association.

B-29 Superfortress Memorial


16th scale cast bronze replica.

Donated: 8 September 2000 by the B-29 Superfortress

Historical Association.

C-46 Commando Memorial


16th scale cast bronze replica.

Donated: 9 September 2004 by the Groups Memorial Inc of the Army AF.

P-38 Lightning Memorial


310th scale cast bronze replica.

Donated: August 1992 by the P-38 National Association.

P-40 Warhawk Memorial


310th scale cast bronze replica.

Donated: 21 September 1994 by the P-40 Warhawk Pilot Association.

P-47 Thunderbolt Memorial


310th scale cast bronze replica.

Donated: June 1993 by the P-47 Thunderbolt Pilots Association.

P-51 Mustang Memorial


310th scale cast bronze replica

Donated: 3 July 1989 by the P-51 Mustang Pilots Association.

Arnold Hall

General Henry H. “Hap’’ Arnold Statue


Location: Outside in front of Arnold Hall


This bronze full body statue sculpted by Glenna Goodacre was dedicated on 5 November 1993 before the Air Force four-star generals. It honors the only General of the Air Force appointed by Congress in 1949.

Hap Arnold Memorial


Location: Main Hallway


This display contains many of General Arnold’s personal collections and awards. It was given to CS-31 by members of the Arnold family.

Jabara Award for Airmanship


Location: Main Hallway


In memory of Col James Jabara, this plaque contains all of the graduates’ names who have earned the award by demonstrating superior performance directly associated with aerospace vehicles.

Cadet Wing Trophies


Location: Main Hallway


This display contains the awards given to the deserving cadet squadrons at the end of each academic year.

Women in the Air Force


Location: Main Hallway


This display is a salute to women in the Air Force to include some of the first to graduate from the Academy.

USAFA Graduates in Space


Location: Main Hallway


In honor of all USAFA graduates who have participated in the space program.

First Four Classes


Location: West end of the ballroom


This case contains the first Academy Crest, the Class Flags, Polaris Yearbooks, and Contrails of the classes of 1959- 1962.

Doolittle Hall

Pegasus Statue


Location: In front of Doolittle Hall


This marble replica of the mythical winged horse weighs about 8.5 tons. The original stands at the Italian War College in Florence, Italy. The statue was presented as a gift by the Italian government in 1959 and stood outside Arnold Hall until 1994, when it was moved to Doolittle Hall.

’59 Challenge Bridge


Location: On the Heritage Trail outside Doolittle Hall


The Class of 1959, generously supported by the Air Training Officers, donated the Challenge Bridge to the Air Force Academy. During in-processing, a member of the Class of 1959 “challenges” each incoming cadet to cross the bridge and live a life that will make those who preceded them proud.

Southeast Asia Memorial Pavilion


Location: On the Heritage Trail Outside Doolittle Hall


The Southeast Asia Memorial Pavilion sits at the edge of the mesa on the north end of the Heritage Trail, overlooking the Academy campus. Inside, a bronze map depicts the Southeast Asia theater of operations. Fourteen bronze plaques memorialize the graduates who were killed in action during the Southeast Asia conflict.

Falcon Club

Air Force Order of the Sword


Location: Inside Lobby


This is an award presented by enlisted members to an officer who they feel epitomizes officership. It consists of two crossed sabers and a shield with a crest. The two scrolls, one with a description of the Order, and the other with a list of the winners, are on either side of the crest. This crest was given by General Charles A. Gabriel on 22 March 1986.

Cadet Chapel

Class Wall


Location: Facing chapel wall, terrazzo level


The plaques on the Chapel wall represent the crests for each Air Force Academy graduating class. The center position on the wall is occupied each year by the crest of the next graduating class. Hence, the crest of the Class of 2016 is now in the center position.

Memorial Tree Grove


Location: West of the Cadet Chapel


The tree grove was donated in memory of C1C Scott Macvean Manly. The grove was approved 29 March 1990, and the trees were planted through donations in May 1991.

Cadet Field House

Glacier Falcon Display


Location: Entrance of the Field House close to the Ticket Office


Glacier was found on the Seward Peninsula in Alaska by Dr. James Erderson and Capt Gerry Hennigaen. He was the second gyrfalcon mascot serving from July 1980 until August 1995, longer than any of our previous mascots. The names of the official mascot are chosen by the cadet wing.

Academy Cemetery

Airman on the Meadow and Winged Refuge


Location: East Plaza of the Air Force Academy Cemetery


The friends, non-graduate classmates, widows and families donated this memorial in tribute to the Class of 1961. The uplifted arm of the Airman captures the image from the poem “High Flight” while Winged Refuge is a set of 17.5’ tall art deco wings emphasizing aviation and its relevance to the Air Force Academy mission.

Polaris Tower War Memorial


Location: West side of the Air Force Academy Cemetery


This memorial was given to the cadet wing by the American Legion, Department of Colorado. Dedicated on Memorial Day 1981, it stands “in honor of all who have served’’ our country. It weighs 5,000 pounds and stands 40’ 6’’ high.

Mall of Heroes

1st Lieutenant Karl W. Richter


Location: Mall of Heroes (BOR)


This bronze full body statue sculpted by Mark Austin Byrd and Jenelle Byrd was donated on behalf of the class of 1964. The statue was dedicated in April of 2008 in honor of the youngest graduate to shoot down a MiG.

Captain Lance P. Sijan


Location: Mall of Heroes (BOR)


This bronze full body statue sculpted by Mark Austin Byrd and Jenelle Byrd was donated on behalf of the class of 1964. The statue was dedicated in the spring of 2009 in honor of the first Academy graduate to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Captain Valmore Bourque


Location: Mall of Heroes (BOR)


This bronze full body statue sculpted by Mark Austin Byrd and Jenelle Byrd was donated on behalf of the class of 1964. The statue was dedicated in the spring of 2009 in honor of the first graduate to die in combat.