CRANBERRY TWP — In October 2006, the National United States Air Force Memorial was dedicated in Arlington, Va., which included a bronze sculpture of the Air Force Honor Guard created by Zenos Frudakis.
Nicol Radford of Cranberry Township was one of the models who posed for the 16-foot bronze sculpture. It features four figures representing an African-American, a Hispanic, and man and a woman, according to Frudakis’ website.
According to the memorial’s website, 1.7 million people have visited the memorial since 2006.
“The memorial doesn’t just represent the Air Force, but it also stands for the men and women who serve,” Radford said.
In 2005, Radford was a reservist in the 913th Airlift Wing in Willow Grove, Pa., which is no longer there, she said.
Radford said Frudakis contacted the Pennsylvania office and wanted models to sit while he worked on creating the sculpture. A friend who worked in Pennsylvania recommended her to be a model.
“He specifically requested a Latino male and one female,” she said. “As long as the uniform fit, I could do it.”
Radford said for two hours one night a week, she sat for Frudakis. She did this for about two months.
“It was nothing at the time, but I knew it would be cool to have a tiny contribution to history that would last a lifetime,” she said.
Radford served for nearly nine years in the Air Force Reserve and was honorably discharged in 2014 from the 911th Airlift Wing in Pittsburgh as a technical sergeant.
“I loved my time in, and I’m proud to be a veteran of this great country,” she said.
Radford said she is looking forward to taking her two daughters in a few years to show them the statue and share her story with them.