Town to create first Valley Aircraft Carrier Memorial

LAGUNA VISTA — The city of Laguna Vista will soon be the host to the only Aircraft Carrier Memorial in the Valley.

The town has approved the location for an Aircraft Carrier Memorial that will be unveiled on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

According to City Manager Rolando Vela, the city has been working on the creation of this memorial for a little more than a year.

“The purpose of this aircraft carrier memorial is to be a tribute to the men and women that were in these aircraft carriers,” Vela said. “It is my understanding that most of these live in the Valley.”

The memorial will include bollards, or posts that secured the ships, from the USS Independence, USS Ranger and the USS Constellation.

Vela said the town had been waiting for the aircraft carriers to land and be dismantled at the Port of Brownsville.

Chris Green is the manager of International Shipbreaking, the company in charge of dismantling the aircraft carriers.

Green said it takes about two years to dismantle a ship, and his company is currently working on the USS Independence that arrived in June.

“We are just finishing up on the USS Ranger and are currently working on the USS Independence,” Green said.

His company will donate the bronze plaques of aircraft carriers, but those will not be ready in time for Veterans Day.

Green said the company is looking into using metal from the ships to create the plaques.

“We really didn’t want to rush it,” Green said. “We want to honor the ships and we want to make sure it looks like it belongs to the ship.”

“We are adding this Aircraft Carrier Memorial to our Veterans Park.” Vela said.

The memorial will include concrete bases donated by Laguna Vista resident Joe Baker.

The town is inviting veterans around the Valley to take part in the event and the unveiling.

Vela said the city has confirmed a speaker for the event, a Valley resident who served on the USS Independence during the Vietnam War.

If You Go

WHAT: Veterans Day Ceremony

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 11, 10 a.m.

WHERE: Veterans Memorial

Aircraft carriers that will be represented in the memorial

• USS Independence (CV 62) commissioned on Jan. 10, 1958

• USS Constellation (CV 61) commissioned in 1957 and served in the Vietnam War,

• USS Ranger (CV 64) a Kitty Hawk-class supercarrier