It is with great pleasure that I strongly recommend Jim Nance to be the sculptor for the National Desert Storm Memorial. I have worked with Jim for over ten years. He is not only a world-class sculptor, but a superior person who displays the highest standards of integrity in every endeavor. He is a man of high character.
I am an Air Force Academy graduate and retired Air Force Colonel. During my career, I served in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War and was General Horner’s Deputy Director of Intelligence in Riyadh during Desert Storm. During my AF career, I taught Middle East Studies at the Academy and was the Academy’s Deputy Director of Admissions. I also served as the Executive Officer to the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Admiral Crowe and later as his Deputy Military Assistant when he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I concluded my career as the Commander of the Air Force Historical Research Agency. After retirement, I was the Vice President of Communications for the Air Force Academy Association of Graduates.
For the last 12 years, three Academy classmates and I raised over two million dollars from our classmates to build the Southeast Asia Memorial Pavilion and Plaza of Heroes—both are projects that capture the accomplishments and achievements of Academy graduates during the SEA Conflict—the first war AF Academy graduates fought in. Jim Nance has been an integral part in designing and sculpting bronze sculptures and working closely with my colleagues and me on both projects. We could not be more pleased with his can-do attitude. We have given him many challenges from changing designs, revising budgets, and adding to his workload. In every case, he cheerfully accepted these new hurdles and met our every expectation.
He also proved his value as a team player by working closely with the Academy Architect and our contractors to meet the many requirements the Academy places on every architectural project. You won’t find a better team player—he is committed to satisfying his customer and not promoting his ego. He has a remarkable ability to effectively communicate from both the technical and artistic viewpoints.
I would just like to emphasize that Jim’s sculptures are world-class in every respect. I first met Jim about 12 years ago, when three classmates and I decided to build the Southeast Memorial Pavilion. We decided we needed a map of the area of operations for the conflict and sent out a request for RFPs. Jim gave a superb presentation that made it easy to select him as our sculptor. His sculpture of the bronze map in the Pavilion has received countless positive comments. The Museum of Flight in Seattle greatly admired his work and purchased a replica. He is currently in negotiations with the Naval Academy, Texas A&M, the Citadel, the Special Operations College, Texas Tech, Smithsonian and other interested parties who are interested in obtaining a copy of the map. His portrayal of the Ho Chi Minh Trail on the map may be the most accurate ever done on a work of art. Due to extensive research, he contacted two British historians who had met with General Giap—commander of North Vietnamese forces. Giap gave the historians his copies of maps showing the trial and Jim used them to show the trail in his SEA map.
The centerpiece of the Plaza of Heroes is a bronze sculpture by Jim of Lance Sijan,—the Air Force Academy’s only Medal of Honor recipient. His attention to detail is clearly evident in every aspect of the sculpture. For the north wall of the Plaza, Jim personally hired glass engineers to create a 42 page stress analysis and hired engineers to design the steel mounting brackets based on his study of the problems caused by the changing Colorado weather and exceptional winds. He certainly exhibited a thorough knowledge of technical and engineering challenges.
Jim has developed a solid reputation and is highly respected for his superb sculptures and his ability to be a team player . He is currently working on a major project that will sit at the entrance to the Air Force Academy. I have also had the pleasure of working with him personally on the design and sculpting of over 60 plaques honoring Academy graduates who fought in SEA. These plaques capture the courage and heroism exhibited during the war and serve to motivate today’s cadets to serve their nation as previous generations have. As an Academy graduate and Vietnam veteran, Jim has strong desire to preserve Academy and Air Force Heritage.
In summary, Jim Nance is the perfect person to help design and develop the Desert Storm Memorial. He has my highest endorsement for this project. I know he views this as a once in a lifetime opportunity. I guarantee you won’t find a more talented and dedicated person for this historic undertaking.
On a personal note, I commend you for fighting the bureaucracy to get the Memorial approved. As a Desert Storm veteran, I am looking forward to making your vision a reality. If you need any fundraising assistance, please give me a call.
Please feel free to call me if you have additional questions or desire further information.