United States Air Force Academy

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Common Ground

The Terrazzo

fountain in the cadet area.


The main buildings in the Cadet Area surround a large pavilion known as The Terrazzo, designed by landscape architect Dan Kiley. The name comes from the walkway’s terrazzo tiles that are set among a checkerboard of marble strips.

With the building of Sijan Hall on the south side of the Terrazzo in 1968, the Terrazzo area was enclosed, creating a large quadrangle. Only the top of the hill, now known as “Spirit Hill,” remains in the central grassy area of the Terrazzo. At the east end of the Terrazzo are the “Air Gardens,” 700-feet of lighted pools, lowered grass sections and maze-like walkways.

Several retired aircraft now call the Terrazzo home, including:

  • McDonnell-Douglas F-15A Eagle (SW corner)
    This 1976 model F-15 flew most of its career with the 48th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS) at Langley AFB, VA. The 48 FIS flew the jet on intercept missions for the Southeast Air Defense Sector. The jet was painted in the colors of Tyndall AFB, FL, for its last few missions before it was retired on 30 November 1992. It was donated in 1993.
  • General-Dynamics F-16A Fighting Falcon (NW corner)
    Originally a non-flying test bed aircraft, this F-16 was donated by AFMC (formerly AFSC) at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, and is presently painted in the colors of the 57th Fighter Weapons Wing at Nellis AFB, NV.
  • Republic F-105D Thunderchief (NE corner)
    Assembled at McClellan AFB, CA, from parts of at least 10 sister aircraft that saw combat duty in Southeast Asia, this aircraft has served as a permanent memorial at the Academy since 1968.
  • McDonnell-Douglas F-4D Phantom II (SE corner)
    This is the only aircraft credited with six MiG kills since the Korean War. Captain Richard S. Ritchie, Class of 1964, made his first and fifth kills in this aircraft. It was presented to the Academy in 1986.