B1 Lancer El Toro Marine Base California
Bob and Nadine Johnston
Photograph - Enhanced Digital - Nikon Photography - Gift Or Greeting And Note Cards, Cheaper By The Dozen :o)
Marine Corps Air Station El Toro was a United States Marine Corps Air Station located near Irvine, California.
In May 1942, Lieutenant Colonel William Fox was directed to select the sites for all of the Marine Corps' West Coast air stations. Fox sought the most expeditious and low cost option and thus chose the already existing airports of El Centro, Mojave and Santa Barbara. For the fourth station he chose land that had previously been looked at by the Navy for a blimp base. The Marine Corps gave the owner of the land, a farmer named James Irvine Sr., $100,000 for 4,000 acres including 1,600 acres designated for a blimp base. Construction of MCAS El Toro began on August 3, 1942... At that time it contained the largest lima bean field in North America. The name El Toro came from the nearby small community which in 1940 only had a population of 130 people.
Before it was decommissioned in 1999, it was the 4,682 acres home of Marine Corps aviation on the West Coast. Designated as a Master Jet Station, its four runways (two of 8,000 feet and two of 10,000 feet) could handle the largest aircraft in the U.S. military inventory. While it was active, all U.S. Presidents in the post-World War II era landed in Air Force One at this airfield. The El Toro "Flying Bull" patch was designed by Walt Disney Studios in 1944. It survived virtually unchanged until the close of the Air Station.
The land area originally taken by the air station is planned to be converted into a large recreational center, the Orange County Great Park.
The site is currently used as a filming location, including the test track for the United States version of BBC's Top Gear franchise.
March 20th, 2013
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