sandra van zandt

Owasson Sandra Van Zandt stands next to the minature maquettes she’s been sculpting that will become the basis for the larger monument honoring the EA-6B Prowler squadron. ART HADDAWAY/Owasso Reporter

Owasso sculptor Sandra Van Zandt is one step closer to seeing her hard work come to life.

The VMAQ Monument Foundation, a national 501©3 nonprofit, received a donation of $25,000 from FedEx Corp. on Wednesday, June 1, to go toward erecting Van Zandt’s latest sculpture at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida.

Her three-figure bronze monument, titled “In Every Clime and Place,” is a project the Foundation has been working to complete the last several years, and honors the legacy of veterans who served in Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare squadrons for over four decades.

On March 8, 2019, the final remaining EA-6B Prowler squadron was officially deactivated at a ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, marking the end of a distinguished era in airborne electronic warfare.

Van Zandt’s sculpture represents those who served in the VMAQ community — a pilot, mechanic and electronic counter measures officer — as they prepare to launch on a flight. The Foundation plans to unveil the treasured piece in the spring of 2021, thanks in part to the generosity of FedEx.

“I cannot express our thanks enough to fellow Marine, Frederick W. Smith, and his patriotic team at FedEx,” retired Marine Maj. H. Wayne “Duck” Qualkinbush said in a release. “Quite a few VMAQ Marines have been employed by FedEx over the years and we are so grateful for this support. We believe in preserving and honoring our nation’s history and this donation certainly helps us achieve that goal.”

Van Zandt, 70, has been crafting statues since 1983 from her personal studio based out of her Owasso home, where she and her husband Doug, a Marine veteran, have lived for more than 32 years.

She has created over 50 military and other commemorative sculptures for museums, municipalities and educational facilities across the U.S. Among her most famous aviation pieces are: “To the Flight Line,” “Hangar Talk” and, most notably, “The Spirit of Naval Aviation,” which she dedicated to the National Naval Aviation Museum in May 1996.

The longtime Owasson started shaping the miniature bronzes for “In Every Clime and Place” in Sept. 2018, and is currently sculpting the larger-than-life figures of the monument.

“It only takes one generation to forget about history. I think of myself as creating a platform for preserving history and helping people remember,” Van Zandt said in a release. “These men and women have done so much for our country and they should be applauded for it and remembered as heroes.”

To learn more about the VMAQ Monument Foundation, visit VMAQMonument.org.