Orange County Airport was renamed by the Orange County Board of Supervisors on June 20, 1979, to honor the late John Wayne. To commemorate the Airport's namesake, the John Wayne Associates commissioned sculptor Robert Summers to create a bronze statue of “The Duke.”
The nine-foot statue, created at the Hoka Hey Foundry in Dublin, Texas, was dedicated to the County on November 4, 1982, and installed on a pedestal outside the Eddie Martin Terminal.
The statue was returned to the Hoka Hey Foundry on March 23, 1990, for refinishing and restoration in preparation for its placement in the lobby of the Thomas F. Riley Terminal. After removing the original finish, Summers added a new patina adding subtle coloring to the statue's traditional western garb. According to the sculptor, the new finish is more appropriate for the statue's position under artificial lighting.
Located on the Arrival (lower) Level between Riley Terminals A and B baggage claim areas, the statue 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 remembered patriots.