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NEWS | Nov. 9, 2023

JBAB unveils namesake statue

By Kristen Wong 11th Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, Washington, D.C. – Members of Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling came together to celebrate their namesake, U.S. National Guard Col. Raynal C. Bolling, along with members of the Bolling family, during a statue unveiling ceremony at JBAB, Washington, D.C., Nov. 9, 2023.

"The statue is a reminder that Col. Bolling was a man of character, commitment and courage,” said U.S. Air Force Chaplain Lt. Col. Meoshia Wilson. “He demonstrated in the early 1900s what it means to be multi-capable Airmen today.”

The statue was ceremoniously unveiled by U.S. Air Force Col. Ryan A. F. Crowley, commander of JBAB and the 11th Wing, and Judith Harding, Bolling’s granddaughter.

Bolling’s statue depicts him in his leather flight suit, “ready to engage in combat with a look of bravery and determination on his face,” as described by the statue’s creators.

“Col. Bolling was a visionary and a pioneer, one who coupled high achievement with sheer courage,” said Crowley. “He exemplified the timeless Air Force values of excellence, service and integrity, decades before they were formalized.”

Bolling is most notably remembered for creating the first flying units in what would become the U.S. Air National Guard, as well as his many contributions to the war effort during World War I.

He was killed in action in France, 1918, stepping forward to save his unarmed driver after their ground vehicle was ambushed by German soldiers. Bolling’s body was never recovered but his disappearance made national news.

Three months after Bolling’s death, the U.S. Army honored the fallen aviator by naming the National Capital Region’s newest aviation facility Bolling Field, which would later become Bolling Air Force Base and then JBAB.

“With this statue, we commit to keeping Bolling’s treasured example alive,” Crowley said. “May Col. Raynal C. Bolling’s name be remembered for another century.”