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thedrifter
03-13-05, 08:28 AM
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort turns 45
Submitted by: MCAS Beaufort
Story Identification #: 20053714508
Story by Cpl. Micah Snead



MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. (March 4, 2005) -- Forty-five years ago John F. Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon in the presidential election, the Pirates beat the Yankees in the World Series and Frank Sinatra took home a Grammy for Album of the Year.

And on March 1, 1960, in a small corner of the South Carolina Lowcountry, a Marine Corps auxiliary airfield on the site of an old Naval air station was re-designated Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. Air station personnel recognized that anniversary this week.

“It’s amazing to consider how the air station has grown since those humble beginnings,” said Col. Harmon A. Stockwell, commanding officer, MCAS Beaufort. “To go from a secondary base to a station at the tip of the spear is awesome.”

The air station has grown from a remote landing strip to one of the premier Marine Corps installations for services and training, according to Stockwell, who first served here from 1980-83.

“The advancements that have been made in support services, quality of life and training alone since my first tour here are outstanding,” Stockwell said. “It is hard to imagine the comparison between 1960 and now.”

A message to the air station from Headquarters Marine Corps congratulated Fightertown on its success on the homefront, while supporting the Global War on Terrorism with multiple deployments.

The message recognized the air station’s Defense Travel System conversion, landfill cost reduction, energy conservation, pollution prevention and residential fire safety awards.

“Time and again, our personnel are being awarded for their hard work,” Stockwell said. “Recognition continues to come from local and state levels all the way to the Department of the Navy. The accolades our team collected in the last year alone show their dedication and perseverance paying off.”

The air station team of Marines, sailors and civilian Marines make Beaufort the unique environment that leads to consistent success, according to Stockwell.

“The professionalism and hard work of our Marines and sailors is a constant, and that combines with the long-term commitments of our civilian Marines to put the air station at the forefront of Marine Corps installations,” Stockwell said. “The entire team really works to make every day a great and better one.”

The training support and opportunities available in Beaufort are another rare commodity that Fightertown holds, according to Stockwell.

The Townsend Bombing Range in McIntosh County, Ga., and the Beaufort Tactical Aircrew Combat Training System range off the coast are two relatively new additions to the air station's training arsenal. The joint connections made to operate those ranges are a road map to the future for Fightertown, according to Stockwell.

“We have the opportunity to create the best joint training complex anywhere,” Stockwell said. “We have easy access, instrumental ranges with large spaces and it is uninhibited. We are establishing joint operations that will serve us far into the future. The partnerships we have today are just the tip of the iceberg.”

The immediate future of the air station will include more quality of life improvements and continued deployments, but the continued success of the air station lies in the hands of the personnel here, according to Stockwell.

“I hope that everyone is proud of what they have accomplished and looking forward to more of the same,” Stockwell said. “If I could give the air station a ‘birthday’ gift, I’d give it another 45 years.”

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/image1.nsf/Lookup/200537145341/$file/600301-M-0000X-002low.jpg

The Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island Band performs during the re-designation ceremony of Marine Corps Auxiliary Air Station, Beaufort, South Carolina (MCAAS Beaufort) to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS), Beaufort South Carolina on March 1, 1960. (United States Marine Corps photo)(RELEASED) Photo by: Unknown


Ellie