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3rd FSSG SNCOs, officers beautify Tropical Beach

Date Posted: 2005-09-26

TROPICAL BEACH, OKINAWA, Japan -- Third Transportation Support Battalion, 3rd Force Service Support Group, has conducted many cleanups on Tropical Beach, located near the Okinawa Convention Center just a few miles from Camp Foster, but the Sept. 12 cleanup offered a new twist to the repetition since staff non commissioned officers and officers volunteered to load up the buses and comb the beach.

"The only people you'll see out here today are SNCOs and officers," said Gunnery Sgt. Daniel L. Havel, career planner with 3rd TSB. "Our NCOs and junior Marines come out here all the time to clean up this beach. It's our job as leaders to care for the community too."

The Marines and sailors of the battalion have been maintaining Tropical Beach for two full beach seasons (April to September). Since the community service project began, Navy Lt. Alan Fleming, 3rd TSB Headquarters and Service company chaplain and project originator, has noticed a marked increase in the beach project's attendance.

"The last few times the Marines and sailors have been here the beach had been pretty packed," he said.

Aside from its obvious benefits to the local community, the cleanup project has benefited the participating Marines and sailors too.

"It has been good for the Marines to serve the community where they live and work," Fleming said.

As the SNCOs and officers of the battalion combed the beach for trash swept up by the waves or dropped by beach visitors, the positive influence of their frequent presence was noticed.

Sunbathers provided motivation with their smiles and waves, and joggers contributed bits of garbage collected in their path to the Marines.

The biggest inspiration was that Marines and sailors returned with only one small bag of garbage each, indicating their frequent visits were making a difference.

The Tropical Beach cleanup is not something the battalion plans on giving up soon.

"This community-oriented project is a great opportunity for the Marines and sailors of the battalion, and it's good for community relations and the environment," Fleming said. "We plan to continue as usual next season, once a month, all season long."

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