Air Force Academy: From An Idea to Air Warrior Combat Memorial Signage

Twelve years ago, the 1971 graduating class of the Air Force Academy had an idea. They wanted to share the history of air combat in the US and memorialize General Robin Olds. Two years ago they reached out to Justin Halverson with an opportunity to present for a chance at providing the visual graphics and signage for this memorial.

Memorializing A General

General Robin Olds was a triple ace combat pilot and is most known for shooting down 17 enemy aircraft in the Vietnam war. In 1968 General Olds was named the commandant of cadets at the AFA and taught fighter pilots for 4 years, his last being the class of 1971, which is the class that raised the money and brought this whole wall idea to life.

Our signage team was chosen to partner on this project after presenting a vision for the memorial signage that would showcase the history of air combat in the United States and be installed on the concrete walls that were already built.


Memorial Signage Design

Our signage design team took the controls using text and pictures to create (14) 5'h x 10' panels to tell the story of air combat history in each United States war. Telling the story of the history of many combats throughout history gives visitors a visual representation of history. It was imperative that all panels be readable from 6' back, in the end, there is about a 10’-15’ foot visibility. The 14 panels span across two separate walls forming an outer 'V' surrounding the bronze statues both made by a member of the class of 1971.

The inner 'V' consists of 6 panels that display the AFA code of conduct and the AFA fight song, but the star of the show on this history wall is the (2) photo collage panels in the middle of both walls.

The graphics panels are fabricated aluminum frames with ¼” thick direct embed printed aluminum panels. The panels attach to the wall with a spacer so they are more flush with the face of the frame.

Donor Signage Honors Those Who Contributed

This memorial couldn’t have happened without these dedicated alumni and donors that made this project possible. The final part of this memorial is a donor wall acknowledging all donors that contributed at $10,000 and above. This is a dynamic donor wall so more donors can be added in the future. Learn more about donating.

3 Tips to Managing Memorial Signage

  1. Choose a partner early. Interview companies capable of the custom work you’re wanting and then choose one to move forward with together.
  2. Create a clear vision of what you’re trying to accomplish. For this project it was: To tell the story of Air Combat History in the US and memorialize General Robin Olds.
  3. Have an open mind. Things will come up and not go precisely to plan, that is custom signage. But having a team (See tip #1) dedicated to your goals who can provide solutions is key.

Have questions about this Air Combat Memorial, Justin Halverson can answer those.

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