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Costa Mesa Police Department
Thursday July 18th, 2013 :: 04:08 p.m. PDT


Local veterans lead a group effort to restore the concrete plane at Lions Park

Local veterans lead a group effort to restore the concrete plane at Lions Park. The plane is a solid concrete replica of the Navy F9F Panther jet flown during the early 1950’s. The concrete plane, a centerpiece of the playground at Lions Park at 570 W. 18th Street, was originally installed in 1960.

“It started during a conversation with Navy veteran Al Bernstein several months back . . . “ recalls Costa Mesa Police Sergeant Vic Bakkila, who patrols the south end of the city. Bernstein, a Navy veteran, painted F9F Panther fighter jets used by the US Navy in 1952 while he served during the Korean War. Bernstein was aboard the USS Phillipine during his tour of duty.

Bernstein is a proud member of Orange County’s Freedom Committee, a group of war veterans reaching back to World War II. The group’s members visit local elementary, middle and high schools to share with students their past personal experiences during wartime service.

Restoration work began July 14th. The restoration group plans to restore period markings to the concrete plane, after completing concrete patch work and repainting. Costa Mesa sign shop employee Jeff Pierce offered his services fabricating stencils to lend authenticity to the plane’s final restoration. Others involved in the restoration include Peter Carolin (ret’d Navy Seal), Gabriel Corona (ret’d USMC) and Jim Drain who is a member of the Costa Mesa Military Affairs Team. Local merchants who offered supplies include the Costa Mesa Home Depot, Red-E-Rents of Costa Mesa, Lowes of Huntington Beach and Quickcrete Products Corporation.

The restoration group’s efforts are towards building upon the family-friendly atmosphere of the City’s park. A barbeque celebrating the project’s completion has been set for Sunday, July 21st at 11:30 a.m. at Lions Park.

Costa Mesa Police Department
99 Fair Dr
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 714-754-5252

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