VIRGINIA BEACH -- Capt. Rick Woolard had hoped the Navy SEAL monument at 38th Street next to the Boardwalk could be dedicated Memorial Day weekend, but he'll have to wait just a little while longer.
Construction is moving forward, and a ceremony is planned for 10 a.m. July 20.
Workers have built the monument's stone walls, the flagpoles are up, and the wheelchair ramp is nearly finished. The bike path in front of the monument area will be repaved soon.
Over the next few weeks, 80,000 pounds of granite will be etched with SEAL inscriptions and illustrations in Ohio. In mid-July, the granite will arrive on two trucks and lowered with a crane onto the walls.
"That will be the tricky part; multi-ton pieces set 1/4-inch from each other, no room for error," Woolard, a retired Navy SEAL who leads the project, wrote in an email this week.
A life-size bronze statue of a WWII Navy combat swimmer standing on top of a horned scully, an enemy obstacle used to sink American landing craft, will be installed.
The same "Naked Warrior" statue is featured at the entrance to the National Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Fla., where Woolard serves on the museum's board of directors.
Sand from places around the world where Navy SEALS have fought or trained will form a "living beach" at the base of the Oceanfront monument.
Navy SEAL history began in Virginia Beach in 1942, when volunteers for special missions came together and trained, Woolard has said. Navy SEAL Team 6 is based in Virginia Beach.
The project is being funded through donations. Stone with donor's names will be placed to the right of the statue.
The city will pay for the lighted, inclined walk next to the monument and general upkeep of the site once it is dedicated. The Florida-based UDT/SEAL Museum will be responsible for any future repairs.