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Lance Cpl. Brittane Woodard, an administrative specialist, joined other Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron Marines to clean up the physical fitness test route aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., April 22. In honor of Earth Day, the Marines picked up trash along the route to ensure a clean and safe environment for future use.

Photo by Cpl. Melissa Wenger

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar celebrates Earth Day

22 Apr 2013 | Cpl. Melissa Wenger 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., joined the rest of the nation in celebrating Earth Day, April 22. This year’s theme, “Global Reach, Local Action” emphasizes how individual contributions can make an impact on a greater scale. 

The commemorative holiday which has been celebrated on American soil for more than 40 years has sparked environmental awareness efforts across the base. Marines and members of the community here have joined the fight for a cleaner air, land and sea.

Earth Day inspired cleanup efforts both on and off the installation. While the Marines of Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron were sprucing up Miramar’s physical fitness test route, those of Marine Wing Support Squadron 373 took on Kearny Villa Road just outside of the base.

“It’s a time to renew and it’s a great opportunity to get the Marines out here and cleaning up the areas that we don’t walk across on a daily basis,” said Lt. Col. Tom Kerley, the environmental management director and an Odessa, Texas native. “It kind of allows everyone to reset and really think about where we are with our environmental program.”

The day also gave the station’s recycling center a chance to make the community aware of its capabilities with a free e-waste and used oil recycling event.

“Electronic waste has been one of the big issues on the base,” said Lt. j.g. Robert Delgado, the MCAS Miramar environmental operations officer and a Lakeland, Fla. native. “I want to alert people not to throw it in the dumpsters and to take it to the designated places where they’re permitted to dispose of them.”

What environmental protection on MCAS Miramar boils down to is something that everyone can understand: saving money.

“By taking care of the base, we preserve it for training for years and years to come,” said Kerley. “That’s a huge impact to the mission. Those taxpayer dollars can add up to ridiculous amounts of money in fines, if you don’t comply with environmental codes.  We’d end up paying money towards fines instead of taking that money and spending it on the war fighter in order to train him to go to combat.”

All of MCAS Miramar’s Earth Day events recognized the station’s goal of preserving the land each and every day of the year.

“We are huge stewards of the environment,” said Kerley. “We want to see Miramar be around not only for the next ten years, but the next hundred years or next thousand years and hopefully as long as our nation is around. We think of every day as Earth Day around Miramar, but this [day is] just a little bit more celebratory of the fact.”

 Lance Cpl. Noel Lucas, a recycling center worker and a Lakewood, Wash., native, sums up Earth Day with a message to inspire others to take local action with a global reach.

 “You’re hurting your children.  You’re hurting future Marines.  At the basic level, you’re hurting Mother Earth.  Waste not, want not. We only have one planet, so why not take care of it now?”