On June 20, 1979, the Orange County Board
of Supervisors renamed Orange County Airport to John Wayne Airport, Orange County.
The John Wayne Associates commissioned sculptor Robert Summers
to create a bronze statue of "the Duke" in commemoration
of the late actor and true American patriot John Wayne.
A "man of humility, of honesty, and a hero of
the American West (who) was a symbol to the world of the traditional
(Resolution of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, June 20, 1979)
The nine-foot statue was dedicated to the County
on November 4, 1982 and placed outside, in front of the Eddie
Martin Terminal. After the Thomas F. Riley Terminal was
built, the refinished and restored statue was placed in the lobby
of the new Terminal.
The John Wayne statue is located on the Arrival
(lower) level in the center of the Riley Terminal and rests atop a pedestal
covered in the same marble that graces the entire facility. Designed
in two tiers to allow visitors to touch the statue, the pedestal
provides a fitting home for one of the nation's most loved and
most remembered patriots.