Often compared to Charles Lindbergh, this Mexican aviator was honored by American dignitaries in the summer of 1928.
Mexican aviator Captain Emilio Carranza Rodríguez was selected to undertake a goodwill flight from Mexico City to New York City in response to the 1927 flight from New York City to Mexico City undertaken by American aviator Charles Lindbergh. He became an international hero when he accomplished this in June of 1928 to great acclaim. Tragically, while flying back to Mexico in July 1928 Carranza's plane got caught in a thunderstorm over the New Jersey Pinelands and crashed. He did not survive. A 12’ monument located in Wharton State Forest marks the site of his crash.
Tensions had grown between Mexico and the United States in the 1910s and 1920s due to war and business conflicts. Charles Lindbergh had made a goodwill flight from New York City to Mexico City in late 1927 and during a stop on the way had met the young Mexican aviator who idolized him. Captain Emilio Carranza Rodríguez, who was in his early twenties, wished to return the successful diplomatic gesture, which he did with wide public support. He began his American visit by landing in Washington, D.C. on June 12 where he was congratulated by President Calvin Coolidge. He then flew to New York City and was honored by the city’s mayor. Carranza departed New York on July 12. Shortly after taking off, he encountered thunderstorms while flying over the New Jersey Pinelands. His plane, named the Excelsior, came apart and he crashed into the woods. His body was recovered the next day.
The monument, installed with funds donated by Mexican schoolchildren, depicts a falling eagle of Aztec design. Every July on the Saturday nearest the anniversary of his crash (second Saturday in July) at 1:00 p.m., he is honored at the monument site by members of the American Legion Mount Holly Post 11 and an entourage from the Mexican consulates in New York City and Philadelphia.
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Carranza Rd, Tabernacle, NJ 08088
Wharton State Forest, 31 Batsto Road, Hammonton, NJ 08037
Grounds Hours Open daily sunrise to sunset
Entrance Fee None