The United States Air Force Memorial honors the service and sacrifices of the men and women of the United States Air Force and its predecessor organizations, including the Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps; the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps; the Division of Military Aeronautics, Secretary of War; the Army Air Service; the U.S. Army Air Corps; and the U.S. Army Air Forces. More than 54,000 airmen have died in combat while serving in the Air Force and these historical service arms of the military, the second highest of any of America’s four armed services.
Located on a promontory in Arlington, Virginia, overlooking the Pentagon and adjacent to Arlington Cemetery, the Air Force Memorial is easily seen on the skyline of Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia in Arlington county.
James Ingo Freed, one of America’s finest architects, gave the nation a design that truly honors the men and women of the Air Force. Featuring three stainless steel spires that soar skyward, the tallest reaching a height of 270 feet, the Memorial’s design is truly representative of flight and the flying spirit of the Air Force. The three spires impart a sense of accomplishment in command of the sky, and evoke the image of the precision “bomb burst” maneuver performed by the United States Air Force Thunderbird Demonstration Team.
The three spires also represent the three core values of the Air Force - integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all that is done - and the Air Force’s total force - active, guard and reserve.
Embedded in granite beneath the three central spires is the Air Force "star," which has long been emblazoned on Air Force aircraft and serves as the rank insignia of every enlisted member of the Air Force. Other key elements of the Memorial include a Runway to Glory at the site entrance, a bronze Honor Guard statue developed by the renowned sculptor, Zenos Frudakis, two granite inscription walls located at either end of the central lawn and a Glass Contemplation Wall that honors fallen airmen. The Memorial’s surrounding spaces will be landscaped to create a memorial park and parade ground and the site will also include parking for 24 vehicles and three buses.