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Air Force Memorial Quick Facts

- The Air Force is the most recent memorial built in the DC Metro area. 


- The Memorial is next to Arlington National Cemetery and overlooks the Pentagon and the skyline of Washington, DC.


- The designer of the Air Force Memorial, James Ingo Freed, also designed the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.


- There are three stainless steel spires evoking an image of jet and space vehicle flight.


- The highest free-standing spire is 270 feet (82 meters) tall.


- A USAF “star” seen on Air Force aircraft and missiles and enlisted uniforms is embedded beneath the spires.


- The base of the Memorial is approximately 132 feet above sea level.


- The entire Memorial structure stands 402 feet high.


- The Air Force Memorial’s structural design took more than one year to develop from concept to complete detailing.


- Computer modeling validated with wind tunnel testing assessed the needed stiffness and strength of the Memorial structure.


- A ball-in-box damping system mitigates the spire swaying effect due to wind direction and speed.


- The ball-in-box dampers contain 13 2,000 pound, 20-inch diameter lead balls.


- The ball-in-box lead balls roll freely within octagonal boxes lined with synthetic damper pads, dissipating energy as they impact the damper pads.


- The tallest spire contains a stack of six ball-in-box dampers.


- The three spires structure is supported by a system of concrete foundations, extending approximately 40 feet below finished elevation.


- The total weight of the spires and its supporting structure weighs approximately 6,600 tons equaling nearly the weight of either 271 B-17s, 220 F-22s or 18 Atlas 5 rockets.


- The spires are connected to the foundation with a 2 1/2 -inch base plate and anchored by 1 1/4 -inch post-tensioned reinforcing steel bars.


- Installing the three stainless steel spires required a 300-foot ringer crane.


- Spires are constructed of a ¾ inch plate stainless steel skin with a core of reinforced concrete.


- The designer and creator of the bronze Honor Guard statue, internationally renowned sculptor Zenos Frudakis, also designed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Generals Douglas MacArthur and George C. Marshall life-size sculptures.


The Honor Guard statue was modeled after various members of the Air Force Honor Guard and Base Honor Guard's throughout the Air Force. 


- The Airmen in the four-person bronze Honor Guard statue are 8 feet tall, with the National and Air Force Ceremonial Flag reaching another 8 feet into the air. 


- Two granite inscription walls located at either end of the parade ground are 56 feet long, 10 feet high and 1 foot thick.


- The two granite inscription walls are made out of monolithic Jet Mist granite from a quarry in nearby Culpeper, Virginia.


- The 2 1/2 -inch outer inscription panels on the walls are made from Absolute Black granite sourced from Africa and is the purest black granite found on earth.


- The north granite wall contains inscriptions centered on the concept of valor.


- The south granite wall contains inscriptions centered on concept of values.


- The Glass Contemplation Wall is 9 feet wide, 10 feet tall and made out of five layers of low iron (very clear) glass laminated together.

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