Honoring Irvine’s Military History

Long before Irvine became a city, it was home to the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS El Toro).  For nearly 60 years, the military played a critical role in shaping the region.

After MCAS El Toro was decommissioned, 125 acres of the former base (known as the “ARDA” site) was designated to become a beautiful Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery in the Great Park.  The site was chosen because of its iconic landmarks (including the Control Tower and Hangars) which will be preserved and repurposed as lasting tributes to the thousands of men and women who served at El Toro.

Unfortunately, members of the Irvine City Council have spent the past two years trying to hand the ARDA site over to a commercial developer for massive office/industrial/residential projects.

Now, Orange County State Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva has introduced a bipartisan bill — AB 368 — in a renewed effort to move forward with construction of the Veterans Cemetery.

AB 368 would allow the State to build, operate and maintain the Great Park Veterans Cemetery at the ARDA site.

Irvine’s Promise to Our Veterans

In 2014, Irvine leaders committed to honoring the legacy of MCAS by building a Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery at the ARDA site in the Great Park.

If commercial developer FivePoint had not convinced the Irvine City Council to spend the past two years delaying and obstructing, the first phase of the Veterans Cemetery would have become operational this Veterans Day (November 11, 2019). 

That’s why we are launching an Initiative campaign! 

Our Initiative will designate the ARDA site in the Great Park for one use only — a Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery.  The Initiative is the only surefire way to force developer FivePoint to give up on the ARDA site so we can start building the Great Park Veterans Cemetery this year, with a 30-month timeline to complete the project.


Join the Fight

We need to raise $75,000 (right away!) to cover the legal fees associated with writing the Initiative and the printing costs for the signature-gathering process, which is necessary for the Initiative to make it onto the ballot. 

We are a grassroots, volunteer-powered campaign that depends on small donations.  We can’t do this without YOU!  Please make a contribution to ensure we have the funds necessary to get this Initiative on the ballot so that the long-promised Great Park Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery becomes a reality.

What the Community is Saying

Stand Up for our veterans and build the Veterans Cemetery at the ARDA Site in the Great Park as originality planned. Say No to developer FivePoint!

Jon Brownell

I am a veteran myself and believe the Veterans Cemetery should be at the ARDA site in the Great Park.  Any other location is a complete sham!

Frank Liger

 I am a retired military member who served 30 years in the Air Force. What the Irvine City Council has done is a slap in the face to all veterans living in Orange County.

George Gumbrecht

The Great Park location was approved long ago after a lengthy permitting and environmental impact process. I’m a Vietnam-era veteran whose remains will probably be interred at the Vet Cemetery when my time comes.  We need to back the ARDA site without any more delays.

Timothy Hoffman

The veterans have been waiting for this — including my Vietnam veteran husband.  Letting the developers have this land in the Great Park would be disgraceful and disrespectful.

Linda Holmes

The promised location of the Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery must be kept.  The location is appropriate in honor of our veterans.  It blends very well with the other plans for the Great Park.

Rogelio Camero

I am a Vietnam era veteran and have served 40 years in the military.  Let the veterans who have served this great nation of ours and who have sustained our freedoms have a final resting place on the historical and hallowed grounds at MCAS El Toro.

Colonel A. S. Marraccino

Having served my country in both Iraq and Afghanistan, I feel the cemetery should be located on the old El Toro Marine base. I currently reside in the Great Park and would be honored to have those who served our great country interred as my neighbors.

William C. Hyser

I served in Vietnam and have lived in Irvine for over 30 years. Please keep the cemetery where it was originally planned. The Great Park is here only because of the men who served and died for our country. Don’t let the builders win!

Ronald Davis

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