U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo.-- When Falcon Stadium opens after the global COVID-19 pandemic abates, sports fans will see a series of memorials honoring Airmen who fought in campaigns across the world.
Today, the memorial highlights five campaigns: The Berlin Airlift, Operations Allied Force, Desert Storm, Inherent Resolve and Linebacker II. The goal is to eventually include as many as 20 campaigns placed on the walls between the tiers of seats at the stadium.
The project is the result of collaboration from several organizations across the base, including the Academy’s Association of Graduates, the Athletic Department, the Academy Athletic Corporation, the History Office and the Dean of Faculty.
“We always want to honor our heritage and educate the public on the history of Airmen,” said Charles Dusch, the Academy’s historian.
Gen. David Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and the State of Colorado’s Historical Preservation Office approved the project.
“Colorado’s historic preservation office needed to be involved because the Academy is a national landmark,” Dusch said. “General Goldfein has been involved with the project from the start and his intent is that this memorial celebrates all Airmen."
Dusch said Goldfein, a 1983 Academy graduate, recognized the stadium as a focal point for all sports at the school.
“It’s not just for football,” Dusch said. “The memorial gives us all a good opportunity to remember whose shoulders we're standing on.”
Nate Pine, the Academy’s athletic director said he’s excited for those who visit the stadium after the coronavirus crisis ends. Pine approved space for the memorial at the stadium.
“We've worked with mission elements across the Academy, including the Historian's Office, the Air Force Academy Athletic Corporation, the Military and Strategic Studies Department and the Department of History on this important project and their guidance and input has been instrumental in making this possible," he said.
The Air Force Academy Athletic Corporation funded the project.