Union Pacific paid tribute to the United States armed forces by unveiling UP No. 1943 The Spirit locomotive at San Antonio’s Sunset Station Thursday.
Only the 16th commemorative locomotive presented in Union Pacific’s 155-year history, UP No. 1943’s arrival was welcomed by a group of veterans to kick off its Salute to the Military Tour, a series of community displays across Union Pacific’s network.
UP No.1943 spotlights Union Pacific’s relationship with thousands of veterans who helped build America after defending the United States – a tradition dating back to the company’s founding.
Created in collaboration with Union Pacific veterans, the locomotive name is connected to a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress funded by war bond contributions from Union Pacific employees in 1943. The plane was christened The Spirit of the Union Pacific and assigned to the 571st Bomber Squadron.
The Spirit of the Union Pacific was shot down on its fifth mission during a raid on enemy installations in Munster, Germany.
“Union Pacific is proud to honor veterans and the men and women bravely serving our country with a special locomotive representing every armed forces branch reflected in its symbolic design,” said Scott Moore, senior vice president – Corporate Relations. “Beginning today, UP No. 1943 The Spirit’s mission is to salute them as it leads trains carrying America’s goods across our network every day.”
The Spirit’s front is symbolic of Air Force Silver, and the blue stripe is a reflection of the former Strategic Air Command’s “nose sash.” The lettering inside the sash is the original hand-drawn font used on the B-17.
It is followed by the Coast Guard’s “Racing Stripe” and the Navy’s Battleship Gray, which frames Union Pacific’s traditional American flag. The military camouflage is a nod to the Army and Marines.
As the train passes by, the final message on the tail is dedicated to U.S. prisoners of war and those missing in action, featuring the POW/MIA symbol and its motto, “You Are Not Forgotten.”
More than 20 percent of Union Pacific’s employees have military experience, with some actively serving in the National Guard or Reserves. The company was recognized in the Best Companies for Veterans top 10 list, compiled by monster.com and military.com, for the second year in a row last year.