Fit-to-fight servicemembers clean-up Surf Beach

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Steve Bauer
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
Six members from the Joint Functional Component Command for Space picked up trash along the shoreline of Surf Beach Feb. 5 followed by a physical training session held on the beach.

The servicemembers who contributed in the cleanup were Maj. Joe Iungerman, Capt. Scott Drylie, Tech. Sgt. Darwin Korson, Navy Cmdr. Angela Brady, Navy Cmdr. Stephen Higuera and Marine Maj. Brian Anderson.

The idea originated a few months back during one of the units PT sessions on Minuteman Beach. While out running, the group could not help but notice an accumulation of trash on the beach and in the surrounding parking lots. Rather than running past the trash, the group decided to take a moment to pick it up and discard it properly.

"The amount of trash got us thinking," said Major Iungerman, an operations planner with JFCC-Space. "If an isolated beach is this dirty, what do the other beaches look like where there are more people?"

The deal was sealed to cleanup Surf Beach when President Barack Obama issued his call for Americans to volunteer their time in their communities for public service. The JFCC-Space stepped up to the commander in chief's call for service by incorporating the beach cleanup with PT sessions.

The group went to the beach with two important goals in mind: They wanted to do away with any trash that could possibly harm the inhabitant wildlife and beach goers. The group also wanted to recover as much material as they could find to be recycled.

At the end of the cleanup, the group was faced with a problem. There were no recycling bins to be found along the beach line, and that was simply unacceptable, said Major Iungerman.

"We will be contacting Amtrak and Santa Barbara County to see if we can put recycling bins at the beach," Major Iungerman said.

"We want to show the community we take pride in caring of the environment, the community and our facilities around Vandenberg," said Captain Drylie, chief of acquisitions and resources with JFCC-Space. "We want this place to stand out and be enjoyable for everybody in the local community."

The group ended up moving two tires, eight-pounds of scrap metal and 15-gallons of trash along Surf Beach. This was all made possible by the authority of the group's leadership.

"The leadership of JFCC-Space places a high importance on unit morale, physical fitness, and taking the initiative to lead whenever possible," Major Iungerman said. "The beach cleanup idea was an offshoot of our unit physical training program and our leadership's push to be innovative and take the lead."

The idea of incorporating such an environmentally friendly activity as removing trash from Surf Beach, with a unit's physical training session had more than one benefit.

"We try to get out and use the beaches for PT because running on sand is a great workout-even if you are on profile," Major Iungerman said. "You can walk and get your heart pumping without jarring your knees on the pavement at an easy pace."

And perhaps most important, they take pride in doing this as a team and will continue to do so for some time.

"What we did at Surf Beach was a team effort," Major Iungerman said. "It allowed us to meet our PT requirements, answer the president's call for community service at a grass roots level, and show the local community that we care about the base and the people who use the beaches around it. It is important, because our efforts won't stop there."