MCAS BEAUFORT --
Marine Support Squadron 273 engineering company hit the beach with something a little bigger than a plastic shovel and pail.
The company helped moved debris from Hunting Island State Park beach to show their support in the beautification of the Lowcountry.
“It’s important to take care of any area the military utilizes and within that area comes building rapport with the locals, respecting the environment and leaving the place in better condition than it was before,” said Sgt. James Raney, a MWSS-273 heavy equipment operator.
The company began the cleanup with their heavy equipment on Feb. 17, removing all natural and man-made debris on the island’s north and south beaches.
The Sweathogs have a history of helping the surrounding community. They assisted the park in erosion control and environmental restoration, in 1997. Hunting Island loses approximately 15 feet of sand each year due to erosion; making it one of the fastest eroding beaches on the East Coast.
“With the help of Marines from the Air Station, we are able to make Hunting Island a better and safer place for our natives, military and visitors,” said Daniel Gambrell, the Hunting Island State Park manager. “The help we are receiving greatly benefits the island because we don’t have the capabilities to move such large debris.”
Hunting Island State Park beaches contain 10 to 20 tons of concrete debris, fallen trees, 300 to 500 feet of unused piping and other miscellaneous types of debris. The current project is saving the state more than $50,000 for their efforts.
The Sweathogs brought out an array of heavy equipment including backhoe loaders, multi-terrain loaders and a variety of hand tools.
“Our project on Hunting Island allows us to accomplish individual and company level training by utilizing our equipment and personnel,” said Raney, a native of Ocala, Fla.
Personnel involved in the project included the company’s motor transport Marines, heavy equipment operators, heavy equipment mechanics, field radio operators, combat engineers and help from Navy corpsmen.
The squadron’s field radio operators established a temporary central communication center on the island, providing the project with an immediate means of communication between worksites.
Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 uses training operations, like their work on Hunting Island, to prepare them to deploy forward and provide ground support for aircraft.
“What the Marines are doing for us really demonstrates how giving back can help the community and make our home a better place,” said Gambrell, a native of Easley, S.C.