The John Wayne Statue
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 American values."
(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.