News: 3-16 FAR Soldiers answer the Earth Day call
Story by Sgt. Ryan Hallock
KUWAIT NAVAL BASE, Kuwait – The Earth may have formed 4.5 billion years ago, but the third planet from the sun has seen significant pollution in just the last 100 years alone. Oil spills, Ozone layer depletion, and trash pollution are among many problems facing the Earth today.
Humans may have created the problems, but they’re also combating the problems. To recognize the support for environmental protection, Earth Day was created in 1970 and has since been observed in more than 192 countries annually.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, and Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh encouraged everyone to take an active role in sustaining the Earth’s resources in their 2014 Army Earth Day message.
Soldiers of the 3-16 Field Artillery Regiment answered nature’s call by cleaning up trash and clearing debris from the beach at Kuwait Naval Base, Kuwait, April 22.
A place of solitude for deployed Soldiers, the beach is a place to leave behind the stress of being thousands of miles away from home.
“We’re trying to make the beach look good,” said Pfc. Gerardo Ponce, a mail clerk with the 3-16 FAR. “There’s always garbage washing up on shore, especially after it rains.”
With the early morning sun already beating down, Ponce and Soldiers of the 3-16 FAR conducted a “police call,” which is essentially an organized cleanup effort.
Ponce said nature is “the finest thing of life” and that it’s his duty to preserve it, especially since many Soldiers participate in Morale, Welfare, and Recreation events on the beach. He said it’s nice to have a clean spot to hang out and enjoy the view, which raises Soldiers’ morale.
Second Lt. Keily Halverson, the distribution platoon leader of the 3-16 FAR and officer in charge of the beach cleanup, said it’s all about maintaining the beach for everyone to enjoy.
“This is the beach that most people come to,” said Halverson. “My Soldiers came down here to clean up the trash and they got after it. It looks ten times better than it did [before]. I think we threw away like 20 trash bags.”
Halverson is a big proponent of leaving an area better than she found it. An environmental science major in college, she said observing Earth Day is important.
“We’re using a lot more natural resources than we should be, and we can prevent it by recycling,” she said. “It’s really easy.”
In less than an hour’s time, the beach was clean and clear of trash and debris that Halverson said are detrimental to wildlife. Turtles getting ensnared in plastic meshing, creating lifelong deformities as well as birds eating harmful toxins are some of pollution’s consequences, she said.
“My Soldiers are great,” said Halverson. “It’s prettying outstanding considering what the beach looked like before.”
Whether it’s a beach in Kuwait or a wetland in the United States of America, the U.S. Army supports Earth Day globally to preserve a quality environment for future generations.