Dedicated November 23, 1996, the San Diego State University War Memorial was commissioned and funded by the SDSU Alumni Association's War Memorial Committee. Located just west of the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union and north of the campus trolley station, it is recognized as one of the few free-standing tributes of its kind on a college campus in the United States.
The monument is a three-sided reinforced concrete monolith faced with Sierra White granite standing 25 feet high. The sleek column, its broken and jagged top symbolizing untimely death, was designed by former SDSU art professor Jesus Dominguez. Its three sides are etched with the names of 239 former San Diego State students lost in service to their country during military conflicts: World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Supreme Sacrifice, Extraordinary Service
Profiles of SDSU Military Alumni
According to research completed in 2006 by historian and SDSU librarian Robert Fikes, almost half of those listed on the monument were pilots. Nearly a third were married and the average age at death was 25.6 years. The three youngest casualties were all age 19 and the oldest was 41. Among them are two Hispanic Americans, one Asian American, one African American, one Native American, and four who were born in foreign countries.
Fikes' research report says the monument presently "lists not only the names of alumni killed on the front lines of battle, but also those who died mostly in accidents both here and abroad while on active duty."
The research also reveals some interesting quirks in the memorial. Besides some inconsistencies in the spellings of names, Fikes found three alumni listed as dead who were still living when the monument was erected and two with no record of military service.
Supreme Sacrifice, Extraordinary Service: Profiles of SDSU Military Alumni (.pdf, updated 2016).