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"General, I'm really anxious to get back to El Toro."
"Hasn't anyone told you? El Toro has been completely destroyed."
Steven Hiller and General William Grey

Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, also known as El Toro, was a United States Marine Corps Air Station located near Irvine, California.


During the outbreak of the War of 1996, El Toro was given orders to launch a counterattack against the City Destroyers, with the Black Knights deployed against the vessel that destroyed Los Angeles. However, the counterattack ended in dismal failure and garnering alien retaliation, which they destroyed El Toro.

A group of survivors, including First Lady Marilyn Whitmore, guided by Jasmine Dubrow traveled to El Toro for refuge, as Jasmine's husband-to-be Captain Steven Hiller was stationed there, but only to find the base in ruins. Hiller would eventually take a helicopter from Area 51 and fly to El Toro in desperate hope to find Jasmine and her son Dylan. There he found them in the ruins of the base along with the survivors.


Behind the scenes[]

The real-life MCAS El Toro in 1993.

  • In real life, El Toro was built in 1942 and was in use during the film release of Independence Day in 1996. It was decommissioned in 1999. Incidentally, El Toro shares the same name as the air base from The War of the Worlds (1953) in which the Flying Wing Bomber flew out of to drop the A-bomb on the Martians.
  • Wendover Airport doubled for the El Toro and Area 51 exteriors.[1] 
  • El Toro is depicted being in the desert. In real life, El Toro is located in the middle of completely developed cities in Orange County.
  • The address on the letter Steve Hiller receives from NASA reads "El Toro, CA 50055." The 50055 ZIP code is actually for Collins, Iowa. The appropriate ZIP Code for El Toro Base (prior to its closing in 1999) was 92609.
  • The planes depicted in the El Toro attack scene are not blown up as they were rented for the film. Because of this, practical effects supervisor Clay Pinney and his crew had to rig the series of explosions on location so that none of the planes were damaged.
  • The shot of the destroyed El Toro had miniatures and a painting composited behind a section of chain link fence shot against bluescreen.


  1. The Making of Independence Day by Rachel Aberly & Volker Engel Aug. 1996, p. 108.