Game Changer – Name Changer


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John Wayne Airport needs its real name.  Eddie Martin along with Paul Mantz were the two driving forces which created Santa Ana Airport back in the late 1940’s and made this little airport viable by leasing it on the week-ends for a Drag Strip, known as Santa Ana Drag Strip.  Eddie Martin, Paul Mantz (who died during the filming of Flight of the Phoenix with Jimmy Stewart) and famous test pilot North American Aviation Bob Hoover who gave the now John Wayne/Orange County Airport the heft to create a viable General Aviation Airport in Orange County.

When Bill Lyons created Air Cal and based his precursor to SouthWest Airlines back in the 1960’s, Western Airlines and more joined on, with lots of regional flights to Las Vegas, San Francisco and Sacramento.  The burgeoning airline business in Orange County was a natural outgrowth of lots of housing development and rising home prices.  The folks in Newport Beach were outraged because of all the Jet Fuel falling on their backyards and vehicles parked outside…of their high priced beach pads.  The noise was deafening and all this resulted in lots of lawsuits, City Council folks being elected and ousted because of their positions on the airport.  This all resulted in what they generously call a “Settlement Agreement”, which was supposed to limit the number passengers and the number of flights and the amount of noise….along with fines for breaking any of these rules.   They even set up Noise Monitor Sensors around the airport and in residential areas around the City of Newport Beach and on County land.

Fast forward a few years and soon the people friendly Air Cal babes and pilots were being replaced by major airlines, and the tarmac and bar at Delaney’s in the Terminal was packed….every day.  The Airport needed to expand….so….another “Settlement Agreement” was fashioned and this time we were talking about a project which would well exceed $1 Billion dollars and then go over budget many times.

The Board of Supervisor’s which included Tom Reilly and Harriet Wieder wanted their pound of flesh and so, the name game started in earnest.  First they wanted Tom Reilly Terminal….which they got.  Harriet Wieder got lots Campaign money and support from even Conservative Republicans.  They kicked around calling the Airport Ronald Reagan or Orange County Airport…. Reagan was too political and Orange County too boring.  So “the Duke” had recently passed away by 2011 and so they opted for the so-called Grand Compromise  John Wayne Airport/Orange County!

This political nightmare was so gross that you really couldn’t grasp it, unless you were there on the ground.  This location should be called and should have always been called “Eddie Martin International Airport”.  Yes Virginia, we now have International Flights from Orange County.  The time has passed for political affectations in naming stuff.  They will be taking down Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, Robert E. Lee and bunches more of people around this country who were either racists or knew someone that had some ethnic problem.

Meanwhile, next year another expansion of our Orange County Airport location will occur….called the “General Aviation Improvement Program” – which expands this property even further and should include the names of Bob Hoover and Paul Mantz.  Don’t forget that right now we have named Terminals A and B – both Tom Reilly Terminals.  Just make Terminal A – John Wayne Terminal and Terminal B – Tom Reilly.  Ah, but the brilliance of politics never ceases.  For example: As anyone can see when they visit the Huntington Beach Pier….there is a giant Cement edifice, not suitable for sitting on which has the names of all the City Council Members that put in the stupid reviewing stand for the annual Surf Contest, so that they could call the HB – Surf City!  So, the quick answer is:  Change the name to “Eddie Martin International Airport”.  This will not hurt anyone.  We do not need the moniker – “Orange County” any longer…..people in the United States and around the world know where Orange County is and where every AirBnb can be located and where every Hotel and Restaurant (at least before the Covid-Virus 19).  To Michael, Patrick, Pilar and Iessa we salute you……and will never forget “The Wild Goose” or “The Searchers” or “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”.  The image of John Wayne will not suffer because his named is shifted to one the Terminals at the Eddie Martin International Airport.  Meanwhile, as Hal Ketchum might say:  “Time Marches On!”

[Editor’s Note: Or … perhaps there’s this possibility:]

Artist’s conception of the statue that will sit in one terminal of Santana National Airport (“SNA”) once Carlos has departed. Norberto will have to wait longer for his statute in the other terminal, if he is ever photographed taking this sort of iconic physical stance.


About Ron & Anna Winship

Independent News Producers/Writers and Directors for Parker-Longbow Productions. Independent Programming which includes a broad variety of Political, Entertainment and Professional Personalities. Cutting Edge - a talk show...is the flagship of over 30 URL websites developed or under development. The Winships have been blogging for the Orange Juice since back when nickels had buffalos on them, and men wore onions attached to their belts, because it was the fashion back then.