Veteran's Commemoration Ceremony - August 4th 2014
Veteran's Park Dedication
On August 9, 2008 at the Veteran’s Park located ½ mile east of Fort Garland, the American Legion Post 142 and VFW Post 6101 held a Dedication Ceremony for the T-33A Shooting Star and a Memorial Stone with names of Costilla County veterans who served their country.
Dignitaries attending the ceremony included U.S. Senator Ken Salazar, Colorado State Senator Gail Schwartz, Colorado HD 62 Representative Raphael Gallegos, and Costilla County Commissioners Edward Vigil and Joseph Gallegos.
Father Patrick Valdez led the ceremony with the opening prayer and blessing. The veterans of the Legion and VFW marched to the Flagpole area led by the Adjutant General’s Mounted Color Guard of the Colorado National Guard. Members of VFW Post 4849 and American Legion Post 148 joined the members of American Legion Post 142 and VFW Post 6101 of Costilla County in the parade march.
A special plaque was awarded to the family of Joe Martinez, former POW and Bataan March survivor.
All speakers thanked all veterans for their sacrifice and service to help provide the freedom we all experience. “Freedom is not Free” was the common phrase used.
During the Ceremony, different readers announced the names of veterans buried in all of the County cemeteries. A bell was rung three times after names found in each cemetery were read.
Taps was played with the flags at half staff, honoring KIAs, MIAs and POWs that have not returned to their country.
After the unveiling of the Memorial Stone, people searched for and took photos of their loved ones' names. Two more memorial stones have been purchased and will be installed at a future date; names of veterans that were not on the initial monument will be added at that time.
American Legion Commander Juan Trujillo was instrumental in leading the planning and execution of this great celebration. Other members of the Legion worked diligently in collecting donations for the monument stone, landscaping, and preparing the base for the monument stone.
Veteran's Park T-33A Display
Costilla County was loaned the T-33A aircraft shown below for display at the Veteran’s Park located southeast of Fort Garland on CR HH. The County has hired Worldwide Aircraft Transport to disassemble and package the aircraft and transport it from Battle Mountain, Nevada to the Veteran’s Park. The company will also design a bracket for the airplane to match the pedestal the county has installed at the park.
The pedestal was designed by Juan Trujillo, American Legion Commander and installed by him and the crew from Fort Garland County Shop and other American Legion members who volunteered their time for the project.
The aircraft is scheduled to be delivered October of 2007.
Initial inquiries were made with Pat Ochs, USAF Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB. The county wanted a P-80 Shooting Star fighter plane as first choice. When one was not available, the County was offered a T-33A jet trainer that was located at Battle Mountain, Nevada. The county accepted it and the process to bring it to the park was initiated.
John Medina contacted Worldwide Aircraft Transport, Ltd. out of Nebraska and an agreement was made to pick up the plane mid-October of 2007.
Commander Juan Trujillo and John Medina went to Belen, New Mexico to view a T-33A static display. There Mr. Ruperto Baldonado gave them a copy of the pedestal design used in the Belen display.
Commander Trujillo used the pattern to create a pedestal design for use at the Veteran’s Park display. District One Shop personnel including Road Supervisor Larry Gomez, Adam Cordova, Donnie Torrez, John Maes, and Miguel Chairez helped in erecting the pedestal. American Legion Commander Juan Trujillo and members Calvin Maes, Luther Medina, Gene Medina, John Medina, and volunteer Ron Medina helped pour the cement, gather materials, and erect the pedestal.
Mr. Marty Baturo and Bill Lemieux of Worldwide Aircraft Transport went to Battle Mountain and disassembled the plane, loaded it on a tractor trailer, and brought it to the Veteran’s Park site. They reassembled the plane, designed a mounting plate that attached to the wing section, and mounted the T-33A on the pedestal. The work was completed on October 30, 2007.
The American Legion is planning a dedication ceremony tentatively scheduled for June 9, 2008 (Flag Day). Plans also are being made for a dedication plaque that will have all Costilla County Veterans' names with a separate section for County POWs and KIAs.
The county hired a contractor and they have installed lights on the T-33A display.
Maintenance of the plane will be done by American Legion, VFW members and financial costs paid by the county.