BEAUFORT, S.C. --
1,008,625 trees to be planted at Townsend Bombing Range in reforestation effort.
American Forests, the oldest national nonprofit conservation organization in the United States, donated pine seedlings to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort to aid in the reforestation effort at Townsend Bombing Range, Georgia.
“The reforestation effort increases public awareness of how our mission goes beyond the defense of the country,” said Gary Herndon, natural and cultural resources manager, MCAS Beaufort. “As responsible stewards of the land, we started reforestation, when MCAS Beaufort took ownership of Townsend Bombing Range.”
“By preserving the lands we preserve our mission.” Gary Herndon, natural and cultural resources manager
Townsend Bombing Range is an air-to-ground training range for aviation units at MCAS Beaufort and is also utilized by Navy, Air Force, Air National Guard, and Army units from more than six states. The range covers 33,834 acres and the donation will help in the reforestation effort of over 1,600 acres.
Col. Karl R. Arbogast, commanding officer, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, held a commemorative tree planting ceremony in celebration of Earth Day and American Forests’ gift of an estimated 1,008,625 seedlings, April 19, 2023.
Jad Daley, chief executive officer, American Forests; Karnig Ohannessian, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Environment and Mission Readiness; and Jacque Rice, Natural Resources Program Director, Headquarters Marine Corps, joined Arbogast in planting six commemorative pecan trees in front of the Officers’ Club at MCAS Beaufort.
“American Forest’s gift allows us to better maintain our forests and to preserve our mission and the integrity of it for years,” Herndon said. “Our goals at Townsend Bombing Range are designed to preserve the integrity of the ground for training mission purposes.” American Forest’s gift supports Executive Order 14072, which aims to conserve American forests and help restoration, as well as the Department of the Navy’s environmental policy.
American Forests continues to advocate reforestation and forest preservation. The donation of the seedlings allows MCAS Beaufort to facilitate essential training for the U.S. military at Townsend Bombing Range in order to maintain combat effectiveness.
“The forest is a buffer that allows pilots to drop precision munitions.” Herndon explained. “By preserving the lands we preserve our mission.”
MCAS Beaufort provides support to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and attached II Marine Expeditionary Force units. The air station is the operational base for Marine Aircraft Group 31 and its associated squadrons. MCAS Beaufort is home to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, the premiere F-35 training squadron on the East Coast.