By Jonathan Stone / Contributing writer
Completed in 1943, Tustin’s military hangars housed the Navy’s lighter than air patrol blimps. Redeveloped after the war, the hangar complex became dedicated to helicopter operations, eventually becoming the home of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
The base closed in 1993, but the Marine aviators remain a beloved memory for the people of Tustin, proud to have played a part in military aviation history.
Opportunities to venture inside the hangars are rare, but residents will have an opportunity to do just that on March 15 during the Leprechaun Leap 5K Run, hosted by the Tustin Chamber of Commerce. The chip-timed event includes a trip through hangar two as part of a certified 5-kilometer route. This is the fourth Leprechaun Leap and the second time the hangar has been a part of the route.
The race is pet-friendly, and costumes are encouraged. Race day events also include beer tasting, live music and vendors. The Leprechaun Leap raises money for local charities and in 2015 will be supporting Heroes and Healthy Families.
Headquartered in Santa Ana, Heroes and Healthy Families has served more than 20,500 Marines and sailors from nine military installations across the continental United States, Hawaii and Japan since 2004. Its mission is to empower our nation’s military and their families to heal the psychological wounds of war by providing them with critical knowledge and psychological support.
Heroes and Healthy Families also offers a series of marriage retreats for couples that take place on military bases and in Orange County for veterans and active-duty service members from all branches of the United States military.
The proceeds of the 2015 Leprechaun Leap 5K will be used to serve 3,000 Marines and sailors stationed in Okinawa, Japan on April 28-30.
Those interested in learning more about Heroes and Healthy Families and the Tustin hangars are encouraged to participate in the Leprechaun Leap 5K Run by visiting LeprechaunLeap.org, TustinChamber.org and HeroesAndHealthyFamilies.org.
Thank you to the OC Register for the article.