May 24, 2015

1604 UNITED STATES (Colorado) - United States Air Force Academy

1604 Colorado Springs - United States Air Force Academy,
Cadet Chapel and Cadet Honor Court
with B-17 Flying Fortress and P-40 Warhawk memorials

The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), located immediately north of  Colorado Springs, is the youngest of the five United States service academies, having graduated its first class in 1959. Graduates of the Academy's four-year program receive a Bachelor of Science degree, and are commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Air Force. Recent incoming classes have had about 1,200 cadets; historically just under 1,000 of those will graduate. The buildings in the Cadet Area were designed in a distinct, modernist style, and make extensive use of aluminum on building exteriors, suggesting the outer skin of aircraft or spacecraft.

The main buildings in the Cadet Area are set around a large, square pavilion known as "the Terrazzo". Most recognizable is the 17-spired Cadet Chapel. The subject of controversy when it was first built, it is now considered among the most prominent examples of modern American academic architecture. Designed by  Walter Netsch of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill of Chicago, and constructed by Robert E. McKee, Inc., of Santa Fe, New Mexico, it was completed in 1962. The original design called for nineteen spires, but this number was reduced due to budget issues. The structure is a tubular steel frame of 100 identical tetrahedrons, each 23m long, weighing five tons, and enclosed with clear aluminum panels. 

The Cadet Chapel itself is 46m high, 85m long, and 26m wide. The front façade, on the south, has a wide granite stairway with steel railings capped by aluminum handrails leading up one story to a landing. It was designed specifically to house three distinct worship areas under a single roof. Inspired by chapels at Sainte-Chapelle in France and the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi in Italy, architect Walter Netsch stacked the spaces on two main levels. The Protestant nave is located on the upper level, while the Catholic and Jewish chapels and a Buddhist room are located beneath it. Beneath this level is a larger room used for Islamic services and two meeting rooms.

Located between the Chapel and Arnold Hall (the cadet social center), Honor Court contains bronze statues and aircraft memorials from various groups. Among them are the following, designed by sculptor Robert Henderson:
• The Boeing B17G Flying Fortress Memorial, unveiled on August 22, 1997. The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a four-engine heavy bomber aircraft primarily employed by the United States Army Air Forces during WWII.
• The P-40 Memorial, unveiled on September 21, 1994. The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk was an American single-engine, single-seat, all-metal fighter and ground attack aircraft that first flew in 1938.

About the stamps
About the second, featuring a portrait of George Washington, I wrote here. The last two stamps, depicting Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912) by Marcel Duchamp, and American Landscape (1930) by Charles Sheeler, are part of the series Modern Art in America: 1913-1931, about which I wrote here.

United States Air Force Academy - Wikipedia

Sender: Denise 
Sent from Greenvale (New York / United States), on 17.03.2014
Photo: Bob von Normann

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