The United States Air Force Academy dedicates a memorial sculpture to the Spirit 03 crew


The United States Air Force Academy has unveiled a memorial monument honouring the crew of the AC-130H Spectre gunship Spirit 03. The event was held by Lieutenant General Richard Clark, superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy, and was attended by members of the aircrew's families and other important visitors. This ceremony was an appropriate tribute to the 14 Airmen who died during a combat mission in support of Operation Desert Storm on January 31, 1991.

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The aircrew of Spirit 03 was providing close air support to US Marines in the neighbourhood of Khafji, Saudi Arabia, throughout the mission. Unfortunately, an Iraqi surface-to-air missile hit the Air Force Special Operations Command plane, resulting in the most casualties of any US Air Force unit during Desert Storm.


The memorial sculpture's dedication serves as a compelling reminder of the value of leadership and character development in the United States Air Force. Major Paul Weaver, the aircraft commander of Spirit 03 and a member of the Academy Class of 1979 knew what it meant to be a part of that tradition. He led his crew with honour and courage, paving the way for future generations of Airmen to follow in his footsteps. The sculpture will be displayed at the Academy's publicly accessible Honour Court alongside more than ten other monuments that represent the story of generations of American Airmen's service and sacrifice.

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