USAFA War Memorial

Graduate War Memorial

The War Memorial contains the names of U.S. Air Force Academy graduates killed as a result of hostile action during a state of military conflict. The idea of the War Memorial was conceived by Capt. Richard T. Mathews, '60, the first alumni secretary, who died April 8, 1967, before seeing the memorial completed.

Fund-raising efforts among graduates and parents of graduates began in May 1968, and construction of the $24,000 memorial commenced in the spring of 1970. Monument Services Company of Vermont was the manufacturer. On Oct. 10, 1970, during homecoming, the Association of Graduates presented the War Memorial to the Air Force Academy Cadet Wing.

The War Memorial stands on the terrazzo on the north end of the air gardens and faces the American flag, for which those deceased graduates listed on the memorial died.

The memorial is a striking curved monolith constructed of three slabs of black starlite granite. The inscription "In memory of our fellow graduates who have fallen in battle..." is a simple but eloquent statement of criteria for a name to be included on the memorial. The actual determination of those graduates who are remembered on the War Memorial follows the circumstances listed below:

  1. Graduates killed in direct hostile action.
  2. Graduates killed within an area of conflict as the result of an incident which is in direct support of the activities therein.
  3. Graduates killed outside an area of conflict while directly supporting the activities within that area of conflict will be considered on an individual basis by the AOG Board of Directors.

At the dedication ceremony in 1970, Brig. Gen. Robin Olds, commandant of cadets, brought the essence of the memorial forcefully home with the following words:

"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."