Emilio Carranza

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Emilio Carranza

Captain Emilio Carranza Rodríguez (December 9, 1905 – July 13, 1928) was a noted Mexican aviator and national hero, nicknamed the "Lindbergh of Mexico". He was killed while returning from a historic goodwill flight from Mexico City to the United States.

He was the great-nephew of President Venustiano Carranza of Mexico and the nephew of famed Mexican aviator Alberto Salinas Carranza. At age 18, he took part against the Yaqui Indians's rebellion in Sonora and helped to put down the de la Huerta rebellion. While in Sonora, he crashed and his face had to be reassembled with platinum screws. At age 22, on May 24–25, 1928, he set the record for the third longest non-stop solo flight by flying 1,875 miles (3000 km) from San Diego, California to Mexico City in 18.5 h.

In the summer of 1928, he became a national hero when he was selected to undertake a goodwill flight from Mexico City to New York City in response to the previous year's flight from New York City to Mexico City undertaken by Charles Lindbergh. Flying his plane The Excelsior, he landed in Washington, D.C on June 12, 1928, where he was congratulated by U.S. President Calvin Coolidge. Flying on to New York, Carranza landed at Roosevelt Field on Long Island and was honored in New York City by Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover and New York City mayor Jimmy Walker. Owing to violent weather, he was urged to remain in New York by Charles Lindbergh and others.

There is a persistent legend that on July 12 Carranza received a telegram from Mexican War Minister Joaquín Amaro ordering his immediate return to Mexico City "or the quality of your manhood will be in doubt." According to the legend, the telegram no longer exists. The legend's proponents do not cite any source for the story of the telegram, which appears to be a fabrication intended to defame Amaro.

According to contemporaneous news reports, Carranza departed on July 12 from Roosevelt Airfield after receiving an updated weather report via telegram from the U.S. Weather Bureau. [1] [2]

Carranza took off after dark during a break in thunderstorms in the New York region. While flying over the Pinelands of southern New Jersey amidst thunderstorms, his plane came apart, and he crashed into the woods.[3] His body was recovered the following day and held in a garage behind Willis Jefferson Buzby's General Store in Chatsworth.[4]

Authorities initially identified Carranza's body from the Weather Bureau telegram found in his flight jacket pocket, according to news reports. [5] [6] The news reports identify personal belongings found on his body, but make no reference to a telegram from Minister Amaro. The news reports are contrary to some versions of the Amaro telegram legend, which state that the Minister's telegram was found in Carranza's jacket pocket.

In 2007, documentary filmmaker Robert A. Emmons Jr. completed and premiered a feature length documentary detailing the life of Emilio Carranza and the role of the American Legion Post 11 and the town of Chatsworth, NJ's involvement in his recovery and memorial.

In April 2009, J&J Video Producers of Chicago premiered their documentary film titled "FLYING WITH EMILIO". The documentary details the life of Emilio Carranza and the continued role of the American Legion Post 11 of Mount Holly, NJ's involvement in his recovery and their annual Memorial Service.[7]

Carranza Memorial[edit]

The Carranza Memorial in Tabernacle, New Jersey

A 12 ft (3.6 m) monument in the Wharton State Forest in Tabernacle Township, New Jersey marks the site of his crash 39°46′38.6″N 74°37′56.6″W / 39.777389°N 74.632389°W / 39.777389; -74.632389. 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 accompanied by an entourage from the Mexican consulates in New York City and Philadelphia.[8]


  1. ^ "Mexican Lindy Killed As Plane Falls in South Jersey Pines During Storm, ” Evening Courier, July 14, 1928 (Camden, NJ)
  2. ^ "Carranza Killed In Crash As He Flies Into Storm In Mexico Hop," The New York Times, July 14, 1928
  3. ^ "The Lindbergh of Mexico". Check-Six.com. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Birdsall, Bob People of the Pines (2007), Plexus Publishing, Inc., Medford, NJ.
  5. ^ Evening Courier, July 14, 1928
  6. ^ The New York Times, July 14, 1928
  7. ^ Preview of Flying With Emilio by J&J Video Productions, flyingwithemilio.com.
  8. ^ Emilio Carranza Crash Monument, RoadsideAmerica.com, undated. Accessed July 24, 2008.

External links[edit]