Heroes Hall

Heroes Hall Heroes Hall at OC Fair & Event Center is a year-round veterans museum and education center that celebrates the legacy of Orange County veterans and others who have served our nation.
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OC Fair & Event Center’s (OCFEC) new permanent, year-round exhibition center, Heroes Hall, will celebrate the legacy of Orange County veterans and others who have served our nation. The center features exhibition and events, including Voices: Veterans Storytelling Project, and an annual Veterans Day Celebration. OCFEC property was once part of the Santa Ana Army Air Base, a 1,300-plus-acre training facility used during World War II. Orange Coast College, Vanguard University, Costa Mesa High School, Davis Elementary School, Tewinkle Park and several commercial and residential areas are also on former air base land. The Heroes Hall Veterans Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, manages and fund raises for the exhibit. For information on getting involved, visit ocheroeshall.org. Visit www.ocfair.com/heroeshall for more details.

05/06/2020
WWII veteran shares her memories

Arlene Burke Casper, 95, of Huntington Beach, served in the U.S. Marine Corps during WWII. When asked what it was like to be a woman in the Marines, she said, "It was wonderful. I would do it again if I could. I loved serving my country." She recorded her memories of World War II at the Heroes Hall Story Room during her recent visit to the museum.

You can view her story, and the dozens of stories recorded by other veterans and family members, by going to ocfair.com/storyroom.

Today begins National Military Appreciation Month. In all of May, we honor and recognize all those who have served and a...
05/01/2020

Today begins National Military Appreciation Month. In all of May, we honor and recognize all those who have served and are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Thank you for serving!

04/27/2020
OC Fair

The 2020 OC Fair has been canceled.

The OC Fair & Event Center Board of Directors voted unanimously to cancel the 2020 OC Fair, one of the most anticipated and enduring summer celebrations in Southern California for 130 years.

The Board considered ongoing guidance and updated information from State and County health care and government officials about the status of the coronavirus pandemic and the improbability that mass gatherings like the OC Fair could safely and responsibly take place this summer.

For information on refunds and more, visit ocfair.com/refunds.

ON THIS DAY: On April 25, 2016, the OC Fair & Event Center moved an approximately 50,000-pound, 5,000-square-foot, two-s...
04/25/2020

ON THIS DAY: On April 25, 2016, the OC Fair & Event Center moved an approximately 50,000-pound, 5,000-square-foot, two-story WWII-era building a half-mile through the property to its permanent home, which would become Heroes Hall in 2017.

The Heroes Hall building was originally commissioned by the Army Corps of Engineers and built by the Griffith Company as part of the Santa Ana Army Air Base in the 1940s.

ON THIS DAY: Marine Corps Colonel William W. Eldridge, Jr. was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during World War I...
04/16/2020

ON THIS DAY: Marine Corps Colonel William W. Eldridge, Jr. was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during World War II.

In action against enemy Japanese forces during the assault on Okinawa, Eldridge flew as a member of a 12-plane combat air patrol. In response to a distress call, Eldridge and his fleet located a flight of approximately 25 enemy aircraft attempting to destroy a United States fighter director ship by suicide attacks. Boldly engaging in hostile formation, he was able to destroy four planes in repulsing the Japanese attack and saving the ship.

Col. Eldridge has a plaque at the Medal of Honor Courtyard and Orange County Walk of Honor at Heroes Hall.

DID YOU KNOW? In 1943, the Santa Ana Army Air Base was selected as the reception and reclassification center, preflight ...
04/11/2020

DID YOU KNOW? In 1943, the Santa Ana Army Air Base was selected as the reception and reclassification center, preflight school and staging area for a Chinese Detachment of the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF), which had been decimated by the Japanese.

The U.S. supplied replacement aircraft to the Chinese, which required the ROCAF to retrain their pilots.

The Chinese Detachment of the ROCAF at SAAAB mainly focused on learning English so that they could continue with their flight training in the U.S.

ON THIS DAY: Army 2nd Lt. Louis A Staff was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during World War II....
04/07/2020

ON THIS DAY: Army 2nd Lt. Louis A Staff was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during World War II.

While serving as a forward observer for a platoon of chemical mortars, Lt. Staff and his troop came under heavy enemy crossfire and he and his party were pinned for hours. Under the cover of darkness, Lt. Staff was able to evacuate his men into nearby woods, evading enemy patrol through the night. The following morning, Staff was able to reconnect with supporting artillery and heroically and bravely led his party back through enemy lines and captured numerous prisoners on the way.

Lt. Staff has a plaque at the Medal of Honor Courtyard and Orange County Walk of Honor at Heroes Hall.

ON THIS DAY: Navy Commander Willis W. Hardy was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions in World War II.  While participa...
04/06/2020

ON THIS DAY: Navy Commander Willis W. Hardy was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions in World War II.

While participating in the interception of a large force of Japanese aircraft attached to the U.S.S. Hornet, Hardy attacked an enemy fighter plane, causing it to crash into the sea. Then sighting two other hostile dive bombers, he shot both down in quick succession, centering his fire on a third dive bomber, skillfully exploding it in midair. He pursued a fourth dive bomber, which crashed into the sea.

Commander Hardy has a plaque at the Medal of Honor Courtyard and Orange County Walk of Honor at Heroes Hall.

ON THIS DAY: Marine Corps Sgt. Scott C. Montoya was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during the Battle of Baghdad ...
04/01/2020

ON THIS DAY: Marine Corps Sgt. Scott C. Montoya was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during the Battle of Baghdad in 2003.

Montoya’s sniper team arrived within Company F’s position and upon arrival came under heavy small arms fire. He immediately encouraged Marines to deploy and return fire. Noticing a wounded Iraqi civilian wounded in crossfire, Montoya risked his own life to move him to safety. Then noticing three other Marines severely wounded, Montoya disregarded enemy fire and carried each out of harm’s way and ensured medical attention.

Montoya has a plaque at the Medal of Honor Courtyard and Orange County Walk of Honor.

ON THIS DAY: The Santa Ana Army Air Base (SAAAB) officially become inactive on March 31, 1946 following the end of World...
03/31/2020

ON THIS DAY: The Santa Ana Army Air Base (SAAAB) officially become inactive on March 31, 1946 following the end of World War II and enlisted men returning to civilian life.

Today is National Vietnam War Veterans Day, which honors those who served during the Vietnam War.
03/29/2020

Today is National Vietnam War Veterans Day, which honors those who served during the Vietnam War.

Today is National Medal of Honor day, in which we recognize and celebrate those who have received America’s highest mili...
03/25/2020

Today is National Medal of Honor day, in which we recognize and celebrate those who have received America’s highest military honor.

At Heroes Hall, we have our Medal of Honor Courtyard that features plaques honoring the recipients with Orange County ties.

Learn more at ocfair.com/courtyard.

03/19/2020
Donald A. Gary Medal of Honor recipient

ON THIS DAY: Navy Lt. Donald A. Gary was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during World War II.

Check out the video to learn more about Donald and why he was honored.

OC Fair
03/17/2020

OC Fair

For the latest info, visit ocfair.com.

A list of event cancellations, including VOLTA by Cirque du Soleil and Imaginology, was previously released and is updat...
03/16/2020

A list of event cancellations, including VOLTA by Cirque du Soleil and Imaginology, was previously released and is updated on ocfair.com.

There are currently no plans to change the dates of the 2020 OC Fair, July 17-Aug. 16. OC Fair & Event Center will continue to follow public health directives.

Students from Town Avenue Elementary School in Carson recently participated in Discovery Day at Heroes Hall.They toured ...
03/15/2020

Students from Town Avenue Elementary School in Carson recently participated in Discovery Day at Heroes Hall.

They toured the museum, wrote thank-you notes to troops, and made their own personalized dog tags.

Heroes Hall volunteer Cherrie Danks helped the children decorate their dog tags and explained how important they are to soldiers in the military!

Mac Greeley and his wife Nancy, from Annapolis, Maryland, stopped by Heroes Hall to view the A-4M Skyhawk monument. Mac ...
03/12/2020

Mac Greeley and his wife Nancy, from Annapolis, Maryland, stopped by Heroes Hall to view the A-4M Skyhawk monument. Mac flew A-4 Skyhawks with VMA-311 during his two tours in Vietnam, between 1965 and 1969.

He also commanded an A-4 Skyhawk squadron in Iwakuni, Japan, and Cherry Point MCAS. Prior to his deployment to Vietnam, Mac was stationed at El Toro MCAS in Orange County from 1963-1965.

He served 21 years in the Marine Corps.

03/08/2020
Heroes Hall featured on "The American Landscape"

Heroes Hall was recently featured on "The American Landscape" with Greg Nutt!

The video spends a bit of time on our past POW exhibit, but is chock full of interesting info! Check it out!

Orange County native Eugenia O’Hanlon, 95, was just 18 years old when she applied for an office job at the Santa Ana Arm...
03/06/2020

Orange County native Eugenia O’Hanlon, 95, was just 18 years old when she applied for an office job at the Santa Ana Army Air Base (SAAAB) in 1943. It wasn’t something she had planned to do. Her friend’s car had broken down, and she asked Eugenia if she would give her a ride to the base so she could take a test for a job there.

Being a good friend, Eugenia skipped her classes at Fullerton College and drove her to the base. While she was there, she decided to take the test as well. Eugenia passed the test easily and was offered a job working in the office, writing reports, typing up memos and other tasks as needed.

Learn more about Eugenia's story by checking out the latest Heroes Hall newsletter at conta.cc/2SEWy0i. Sign up for the Heroes Hall newsletter at ocfair.com/about-us/newsletter.

Get your T-shirts! Exhibit attendant Hope Reish is modeling the brand-new Heroes Hall T-shirt on sale now! Sizes are Med...
03/05/2020

Get your T-shirts!

Exhibit attendant Hope Reish is modeling the brand-new Heroes Hall T-shirt on sale now!

Sizes are Medium and Large for $15, and XL and 2XL are $18.

Come on down to Heroes Hall and pick one up! All proceeds help support Heroes Hall.

March is Women’s History Month and we want to salute all the females who have served and are serving in our military. 🇺🇸...
03/03/2020

March is Women’s History Month and we want to salute all the females who have served and are serving in our military. 🇺🇸

We'd like to highlight the WAACs (Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps) later the WAC (Women’s Army Corp), who reported to the Santa Ana Army Air Base in March 1943.

Learn more about those courageous women by checking out our SAAAB exhibit at Heroes Hall!

Jane Weller, 100, of Huntington Beach, served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II as an evacuation nurse in t...
02/28/2020

Jane Weller, 100, of Huntington Beach, served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II as an evacuation nurse in the Pacific Theater. She flew hundreds of missions within the U.S. and the South Pacific evacuating wounded men from the battlefield and providing them medical care until they got to their destination.

Weller shows off a newspaper article from 1945 with a picture of herself and then-Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal and Admiral Chester Nimitz. Her surgical technician dared her to obtain the two top officials’ autographs during their visit to Saipan and that’s just what she did.

ON THIS DAY: Marine Corps Lt. Colonel Paul F. McLellan and Colonel Michael M. Kurth were separately awarded the Navy Cro...
02/27/2020

ON THIS DAY: Marine Corps Lt. Colonel Paul F. McLellan and Colonel Michael M. Kurth were separately awarded the Navy Cross for their actions in World War II and the Persian Gulf War, respectively.

In action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, when his Company Commander was killed in an attack against strongly fortified positions, McLellan immediately assumed command and, in the face of intense hostile fire, skillfully led the attack to overrun an enemy strong point near the second airfield and annihilate the Japanese who previously held up the advance of three Marine divisions. Following this extraordinary act of bravery, McLellan continued to lead his Company bravely destroying enemy grounds.

As commanding officer of Marine Light Attack Helicopter during Operation Desert Storm, Kurth provided close fire support to embattled Marines aiding in collapsing Iraqi defenses. With visibility nearly impossible due to hundreds of burning oil fields, Kurth flew continuously for 10 hours during the most intense periods of combat, while having to control crash his aircraft twice. He led flight after flight of rearmed gunships to units remaining dangerously exposed. Kurth’s extraordinary bravery aided in the destruction of more than 70 Iraqi armored vehicles that day.

McLellan and Kurth both have plaques at the Medal of Honor Courtyard and Orange County Walk of Honor at Heroes Hall.

Do you know a veteran who may be feeling depressed, isolated or feeling anxious or agitated? They could be at risk for s...
02/26/2020

Do you know a veteran who may be feeling depressed, isolated or feeling anxious or agitated? They could be at risk for suicide.

The Veterans Crisis Line wants to help. Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, send a text to 838255, or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat to get help, support and resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Your actions could help save a life.

Frank Hoyt, 95, of Laguna Woods, stopped by Heroes Hall to share his collection of model ships that were used in World W...
02/22/2020

Frank Hoyt, 95, of Laguna Woods, stopped by Heroes Hall to share his collection of model ships that were used in World War II to train airmen in the identification of enemy vessels versus friendly ones. Hoyt, a pilot and graduate of the Santa Ana Army Air Base, acquired the collection of 40 ships from an Army airbase in Texas where he was a flight instructor. After the war ended in 1945 and the base was closing down, the ships were headed for the trash heap, so Hoyt salvaged them and brought them home.

He has kindly agreed to donate the collection to Heroes Hall to add to our SAAAB exhibit. Look for the collection to be on display later this year.

ON THIS DAY: Army Capt. Vernon C. Jordan was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions in World War II in ...
02/21/2020

ON THIS DAY: Army Capt. Vernon C. Jordan was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions in World War II in 1945.

After patrols had made unsuccessful attempts to cross open ground and reach a fortified house where defending Germans were holding up the company’s advance, then-1st Lt. Jordan voluntarily advanced alone. Demonstrating extraordinary bravery, Jordan crawled into the open clearing, then ran through a hail of crossfire to reach the house where he would capture two of the enemy and force the remaining soldiers out of the house allowing the company to advance and take its objective.

Capt. Jordan has a plaque at the Medal of Honor Courtyard and Orange County Walk of Honor at Heroes Hall.

ON THIS DAY: Feb. 15, 1942 is the official day recognized when the Santa Ana Army Air Base (SAAAB) operations began righ...
02/15/2020

ON THIS DAY: Feb. 15, 1942 is the official day recognized when the Santa Ana Army Air Base (SAAAB) operations began right at the spot where Heroes Hall is located.

SAAAB was the location for pre-flight training to thousands of Army airmen and airwomen who served during World War II.

The Heroes Hall building was one of the buildings originally built as part of SAAAB. Heroes Hall opened on Feb. 15, 2017.

Come learn more about SAAAB and its history in Orange County by checking out our exhibit located on the second floor of Heroes Hall!

We had some more recent visitors we want to shout out:Two enthusiastic groups from Brookdale Brea Senior Living and Sunr...
02/14/2020

We had some more recent visitors we want to shout out:

Two enthusiastic groups from Brookdale Brea Senior Living and Sunrise Senior Living of Seal Beach stopped in for a tour and enjoyed a picnic lunch in the Medal of Honor Courtyard.

Also, students from Pacific Coast Learning Center in Huntington Beach came by to learn about WWII history and view the current exhibit, "Fighting on the Home Front: Propaganda Posters of World War II." They also had the opportunity to make postcards on our 1940s-era printing press.

ON THIS DAY: Army Specialist Fourth Class John P. Baca's actions during the Vietnam War in 1970 later earned him the Med...
02/11/2020

ON THIS DAY: Army Specialist Fourth Class John P. Baca's actions during the Vietnam War in 1970 later earned him the Medal of Honor. 🇺🇸

During a night ambush mission, a platoon from Baca’s company was sent ahead. Upon hearing heavy fire from them, Baca led his company to aid the platoon and engage the enemy. A grenade was thrown into the midst of his company, and he covered the grenade with his own helmet, absorbing the concussion and fragments with his own body. His actions saved eight men from serious injury or death.

Baca has a plaque at Heroes Hall's Medal of Honor Courtyard and Orange County Walk of Honor.

Luis Gomez was on his first day of becoming a motor officer with the Costa Mesa Police Department, and his fellow office...
02/08/2020

Luis Gomez was on his first day of becoming a motor officer with the Costa Mesa Police Department, and his fellow officers celebrated with a photo in front of the A-4M Skyhawk at Heroes Hall!

Officer Gomez has been with CMPD for 4 1/2 years. Congratulations!

On this day in 1967, Col. Jacksel M. Broughton was awarded the Air Force Cross for his actions in the Vietnam War. While...
02/06/2020

On this day in 1967, Col. Jacksel M. Broughton was awarded the Air Force Cross for his actions in the Vietnam War. While commander of a flight mission which attacked a heavily defended target in North Vietnam and despite a crippled aircraft that had been damaged by missiles, Broughton was able to illuminate the target for the following strike forces, putting his own life in danger as a decoy.

Col. Broughton has a plaque at the Medal of Honor Courtyard and Orange County Walk of Honor.

Happy 79th birthday to the USO, which started in 1941 and has spent decades entertaining the troops worldwide! 🇺🇸🎤🎹🎺
02/05/2020

Happy 79th birthday to the USO, which started in 1941 and has spent decades entertaining the troops worldwide! 🇺🇸🎤🎹🎺

We are pleased to have Gayle Anderson and KTLA 5 Morning News here today!! They’re  talking about US Navy Sailor Doris “...
02/03/2020

We are pleased to have Gayle Anderson and KTLA 5 Morning News here today!! They’re talking about US Navy Sailor Doris “Dorie” Miller.

Watch the video clips: ktla.com/2020/02/03/black-history-month-hidden-figure-u-s-navy-sailor-doris-dorrie-miller/

Good morning from Heroes Hall and the A-4M Skyhawk!Why don't you come see us? We're open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday throug...
02/01/2020

Good morning from Heroes Hall and the A-4M Skyhawk!

Why don't you come see us? We're open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday!

The U.S. Navy recently announced that a future aircraft carrier will be named for heroic sailor, Doris "Dorie" Miller. I...
01/31/2020

The U.S. Navy recently announced that a future aircraft carrier will be named for heroic sailor, Doris "Dorie" Miller.

It will be the first ship named in honor of an African American.

Miller was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Despite being a cook on the USS West Virginia and having no training, he saved the lives of several crewmen and manned an anti-aircraft gun to attack the Japanese. He died later in the war in 1943.

At Heroes Hall, we have a poster of Miller as part of our "Fighting on the Home Front: Propaganda Posters of World War II."

Address

88 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA
92626

Opening Hours

Wednesday 11:00 - 17:00
Thursday 11:00 - 17:00
Friday 11:00 - 17:00
Saturday 11:00 - 17:00
Sunday 11:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(714) 708-1501

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Comments

My father (center) with two fellow crew members visiting the fuselage of their B-29 from the Korean War, on permanent display at the Air Force Museum in Dayton OH about 20 years ago. Dad trained at Santa Ana Army Air Base (site of Heroes Hall) during WWII.
My father, Bernie, had his pre-flight training at Santa Ana Army Air Base but never saw action in WWII due to a medical issue. He more than made up for it in the Korean War, where he was radar bombardier on the B-29 “Command Decision,” where the crew became known as the MIG-killers and were forced to emergency-land their bullet-riddled plane during their final mission. Its fuselage is on display at the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio, where you can walk through it and admire the nose art—not a scantily-clad Vargas pinup girl but Dopey & Doc flipping a coin to make their “command decision.”
Honor Our Veterans at Irvine’s Veterans Day Ceremony on Monday, November 11, 2019
Alvin Alvaro Solis
Enjoyed the scavenger hunt and Making postcards for our troops! Thank you to all our heroes! 🇺🇸💙❤️
What a great day we had with Hope and Paul The residents of the Wellington Thank you sincerely from our hearts, for all the hospitality you showed us today!!!
I never heard about of about her passing. 🙁
My name is Hope Reish and I am a receptionist at Heroes Hall. I have worked there since the museum opened March 2017. I wanted to take a moment out to share something in honor of my Mom’s passing on December 20, 2018. My Mom was a Veteran. She served in the United States Army in the Women’s Army Corps. With the 3rd Armored Division at Fort Knox, Kentucky. She was laid to rest today at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colorado. I honor my Mom with my dedication and service to our Veterans in my position at Heroes Hall. I know my Mom was very proud of me. I’ll miss you Mom.
Here's some of my pictures from the Concrete Local #500 Cement Masons poured @ Heroes Hall
Do you collect photos in addition to stories?