To all our Supporters and Friends of the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum,
Yesterday, March 28, 2021, marks a sad day for all of us as we prepare to permanently close the gates of the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum at MCAS Miramar.
After more than 20 years of the base our home, we have lost the fight to keep the museum at its current location. However, our mission continues and we will keep you apprised of our work to relocate the museum.
Many thanks go out to the thousands of supporters who signed our petition, visited the museum during our last weeks, or wrote Headquarters Marine Corps and congressional representatives.
Special thanks go out to Congressman Scott Peters, Congressman Darrell Issa, and State Senator Brian Jones, who personally reached out to HQMC on our behalf.
Although we have lost this fight, the Foundation’s mission to preserve and share the legacy of Marine Corps aviation continues through our many programs and our work to save the museum collection.
With the help of Congressman Issa and other elected officials, we are working on a proposal that will keep the Marine Corps aircraft collection intact for relocation.
Currently one of the most promising locations is a return to MCAS El Toro in Irvine, California, the original home of the museum. We are exploring with the City of Irvine, which is incredibly supportive, the creation of a museum in the Orange County Great Park area.
Two hangars that would require refurbishing have already been identified along with a large parking apron. The proposal would require a partnership between the City of Irvine and the Marine Corps along with support from the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation. Time and funding will be our biggest challenges, but not insurmountable.
The first step will be a presentation by the City staff to the Irvine City Council at their next meeting in late April. The Foundation will work with the Irvine staff to develop a budget for the project and reach out to the Marine Corps to delay the dismantling of the collection.
If we are able to obtain support for this proposal from both Irvine and the Marine Corps, we would begin a fundraising campaign to bring the collection to its new home.
I hope we can depend on your future support to help save this one-of-a-kind collection. We will keep everyone updated on our progress on this and other scenarios we are exploring.
No matter what the outcome of these negotiations, the Foundation will continue its programs to preserve and share the legacy of USMC aviation through its education programs and activities to honor and preserve the legacy of military service.
We could not do the important work of preserving and sharing the legacy of Marine Corps aviation without you. Thank you for your support.
Michael J. Aguilar
Brigadier General USMC Retired
Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation