National Museum of the United States Air Force, Memorial Park:
The museum’s Memorial Park honors Air Force-associated units and people for their courageous service and sacrifice in the cause of freedom. In October 1972, the museum dedicated the first memorial with a commemorative tree and plaque recognizing Americans held as Prisoners of War by the North Vietnamese and those missing in action during the Southeast Asia Conflict. Memorial Park has grown significantly since that first dedication, with more than 500 memorials, including statuary memorials, plaques, trees and benches.
A new section of the memorial park (located to the West of the existing park) was opened during the Summer of 2011 and has an expanding number of Memorials. This is where the NMUSAF would locate our Memorial.
In addition to the actual memorial cost, the donating organization must budget for a sturdy concrete pad, a memorial park maintenance fee, and other organizational expenses. After the initial design is complete, organizations may subsequently add memorial content, which is an option the Executive Committee is considering in our designs
After installation of a new memorial, there is often a dedication event; a recent example is the Gold Star Family Memorial dedication in November of 2018.
F/FB/EF-111 Memorial Design Maturation
The F-111 Memorial Foundation Executive Committee surveyed the community twice to discern memorial design content; both surveys had similar results (see “Survey Results” below). In July and August 2020, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics (LM Aero) offered some conceptual designs for our use, which served as reference points for Executive Committee discussions with local memorial fabrication companies.
Two local companies chose to further develop those concepts and submitted them for our consideration. A cross-functional group of donors reviewed the submissions and provided feedback to the Executive Committee. The concept depicted below, submitted by Laser Imaging & Design, Inc. of Lebanon OH, was unanimously approved (see “Winning Conceptual Design” below). We will continue to work with NMUSAF personnel and Laser Imaging & Design to refine the F/FB/EF-111 memorial design.
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F-111 Memorial Project Status (As of 1 Oct 2021)
In 2021, the Museum found our preliminary design acceptable, so we signed a contract with Laser Imaging & Design, Inc. of Lebanon OH to order the granite. Delivery is expected by the end of December 2021, though shipping delays could impact that date. We plan to submit our formal approval package to the NMUSAF this month, anticipating approval by December 2021. Fabrication by Laser Imaging & Design and laying of a concrete pad can then begin. However, to ensure proper curing of the concrete, the pad will likely not be laid until the spring of 2022. We have also begun preliminary planning for a dedication ceremony / community-wide reunion, coincident with monument completion. Once our package is approved and materials are in hand, we’ll be able to zero-in on a date.