The Robin Olds Air Warrior Combat Memorial (AWCM)

USAF Academy Colorado
Dedicated, 1 October 2021

The AWCM is an Air Force approved memorial designed to honor the warrior ethos and the first 100 years of aerial combat. During the 40th reunion in 2011 of the class of 1971, it was unanimously agreed to create a two-fold gift to the Academy. The first part was to fund two conference rooms in the future CCLD Center for Character and Leadership Development. This portion was realized in 2016.

The second part of the gift was to honor our former commandant Brigadier General Robin Olds who was the quintessential combat leader and triple ace from WW2 and Vietnam. Over the years, as a class we overcame many obstacles and together with supporters from other classes, we guided the project, and sometimes watched with awe, as it took on a life of its own and evolved from a single statue to a major memorial, the Air Warrior Combat Memorial. The AWCM, located near the Academy North gate, celebrates and honors the first 100 years of air power with the Robin Olds statue anchoring the center of the plaza. The memorial was dedicated on 1 October 2021 at our 50th reunion. Learn more about the Robin Olds Memorial.

The graduating class of 1971 donated a large portion of the necessary 1.4 million dollars, with generous donation assistance provided by the classes of 1969 and 1963 and other graduates and AF personnel who value the warrior ethos.

Learn about the Robin Olds Limited Edition Cabinet bust Read the Article from Checkpoints magazine on the AWCM dedication View 80 Photographs on Flicker courtesy of the USAFA Foundation Watch the Dedication Ceremony courtesy the USAFA Foundation

Click Any Image to View Full-Sized Version and Captions

Acknowledgements +

The development of this memorial was made possible by a multitude of selfless individuals who contributed not only the necessary funds but years of support and hard work. To all, thank you. This is just a partial list of supporters:

  1. All the members of the Classes of 1971, 1969, 1963 and other grads who provided financial support.
  2. Class president Frank Morgan ‘71 and Tom Berry ‘71: who served as gift committee chairs.
  3. Duane Boyle: Academy architect
  4. Tom O’Gorman, Bronze Services Foundry Loveland: who cast the Olds statue and F-4
  5. Hardscape construction: JBI Construction
  6. ASI Sign Systems, Denver: Who created the history panels
  7. Vincent Renaud: AF Academy Foundation Project Manager
  8. USAF Academy Research, Editorial, Writing, and photographic team for the history panels
    • Amanda Hess, Chis Miller ‘80, Steve Randolph ‘74, John Abbatiello ’87, Gail Muggill ’20, Daniel Smith ’20, Camryn Mathis ‘21

General Description of the Memorial +

The AWCM memorial has five components:

  • Hardscape
  • Landscape
  • The Robin Olds Bronze Sculpture
  • 14 large history panels
  • A Large 1/5th scale bronze F-4c Phantom 2 jet fighter which is the same aircraft Robin Olds flew in Vietnam

Hardscape and Landscape +

Hardscape component

  • The memorial is located within a traffic circle with a diameter of 132 feet located to the N.E. of the B-52 display
  • Composed of a plaza and two sets of architectural concrete walls holding 14 brushed aluminum history panels
  • Interior courtyard
  • Benches and planter boxes

Landscape component

  • Outside the walls, dense evergreen landscaping provides for a visual separation between the memorial and traffic and establish enclosure.
  • Borrowed horizon visual elements of mountains and Academy campus
  • Trees inside and outside of plaza to create a vertical component

Robin Olds Sculpture +
  • The statue of Robin Olds in the memorial was sculpted by sculptor James Nance also of the class of 1971. Brigadier General Olds was selected to represent the warrior ethos for several reasons. First, he was a triple ace in WW2 and Vietnam with 17 aerial victories to his name. Secondly, he was the “John Paul Jones” of the USAF and an exceptional, lead from in front, combat wing commander in Vietnam. His men idolized him and would follow him to hell and back…and often did. Finally, he was the beloved and admired commandant of cadets at the USAFA Academy for all four years of the class of 1971. More on the Olds statue can be found on the Robin Olds Memorial page under the Monuments tab
  • Located within the plaza, the bronze sculpture of Robin Olds represents the spirit of the Air Warrior.
  • For best sunlight illuminating the face, the sculpture faces South west toward Pikes Peak.
  • The Olds sculpture stands on a pedestal measuring 32 inches tall and 5 feet square at the bottom. The sides are beveled at a 30 degree angle from the vertical..
  • The beveled sides of the pedestal contain 4 bronze plaques honoring Robin Olds and his accomplishments
  • More on the Olds statue can be found on the Robin Olds Memorial page under the Monuments tab

Concrete Walls and Aluminum Panels +

Massive concrete walls one foot thick are oriented in two sets of angled wings, one on the outside of the plaza and one on the interior courtyard.Outer walls

  • The outer set of walls measure 80 feet long and 50 feet long with a gap in the apex where the sculpture is located
  • The outer walls contain 14 aluminum brushed aluminum history panels measuring 5 ft in height and 10 ft long which describe the history of air power.

Inner Courtyard Walls

  • Two concrete walls measuring 41 feet long each are connected at a pivot point and located on the East and South side of the interior courtyard
  • The interior walls facing the courtyard contain aluminum panels measuring 30 inches tall and 10 feet long
  • The panels contain text of inspirational quote:
    • The lyrics of the AF Song:
    • The Airman’s creed:
    • The Oath of office:
    • Code of Conduct

The Southern most wall on the outside surface contains large individual letters with the name of the memorial

A large cut aluminum Air Force chevron is affixed beside the memorial name

On the outside East of the courtyard wall are provisions for dedication and donor recognition

Aircraft +

A stainless steel pole supports a 1/5th scale bronze model of a F-4c Phantom 2 jet fighter which is the same aircraft Robin Olds flew in Vietnam and in which he achieved 4 aerial victories.

The F-4 is mounted in a 17 degree nose high climb and a 45 degree left bank.

The F-4 is mounted with the belly 10 feet from the paving and its left wing tip 7 feet high. To a visitor standing at the entrance of the Memorial, the F-4 is positioned at General Olds’ shoulder height for maximum visual impact.

A bronze plaque located on the pedestal will describe and dedicate the aircraft.

For more information on the F-4 sculpture visit the F-4C Phantom II Memorial page under the Monuments tab.

Memorial Purpose +

To honor the first 100 years of Air Power and Aerial Combat with history panels which describe major eras and milestones

To honor Robin Olds and his contributions to Air Combat as a prime example of the warrior ethos.

To inspire a spirit of the “Warrior Ethos” in all Academy graduates and cadets whatever their mission.

To reinforce the primary mission of the USAF–“To Fly, Fight, and Win.”

To generate a feeling of “Pride” in being an AF officer and warrior.

To promote “Patriotism” and “Esprit De Corps.”

To honor our shared “Warrior Heritage.

To connect with the past and the contributions of previous generation of warriors.