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    Officer in Charge, Departing

    Navy opens multiuse recreation center onboard San Nicolas Island

    Photo By Lt.j.g. Drew Verbis | 220216-N-AS200-3981 SAN NICOLAS ISLAND, Calif. (Feb. 16, 2022) – Cmdr. Keith...... read more read more

    SAN NICOLAS ISLAND, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

    07.19.2023

    Story by Ensign Drew Verbis 

    Naval Base Ventura County

    SAN NICOLAS ISLAND (NNS) - Cmdr. Keith “Fudge” Buckingham, officer in charge (OIC), San Nicolas Island (SNI), Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC), departed July 12, 2023, after 20-years of service.

    Buckingham, a native of Annapolis, Maryland, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2003. He will officially retire Sept. 30, and served as the SNI, OIC from June 2020 to July 2023.

    “I will forever love SNI,” said Buckingham. “It’s such an amazing place with a devoted and wonderfully diverse group of people; from the youngest sailor to the most experienced civilian employee.”

    Capt. Robert “Barr” Kimnach III, commanding officer, NBVC, stated that Buckingham was an outstanding example for all senior officers.

    “He succeeded in rejuvenating military bearing and quality of life for Sailors on the island by spearheading projects and programs, authoring changes to the working hours and liberty guidance, and engaging in Sailor mentorships,” said Kimnach.

    Buckingham left his mark on SNI. He oversaw the completion of the “Fox Den,” a 7 million-dollar, multiuse Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) food and beverage facility which has become the hub of activity on the Island. He was instrumental in identification, notification and risk analysis of JP-5 trapped fuel and subsequent removal. He skillfully negotiated alternative cargo delivery methods when previous contracts failed. He relentlessly pushed to complete a 7-year pier refurbishment and he instituted an annual Fall beach cleanup.

    “Supporting the island takes a lot of energy and ingenuity,” said Buckingham. “The family separation and remote isolation are not for everyone; my family would agree. But I thrived with the challenges and adventures, and I will always cherish the experience of living on an austere Channel Island in the Pacific Ocean; what a wonderful way to complete my career.”

    Apart from SNI, Buckingham served as the 2023 Point Mugu Air Show Director, Ventura County’s largest public event, attended by 205,000 civilians, volunteers, and military personnel and hosted the two top demonstration teams in the world, the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds.

    “I love it when a plan comes together,” said Buckingham. “You know it’s a success when the effort looks easy, but it wasn’t. It required a tremendous team effort to produce the ‘Super Bowl of Airshows.’”

    Buckingham is a designated Naval Aviator and Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) Test and Instructor Pilot. Operationally, he flew the P-3C Orion and P-8A Poseidon. He served in 6-duty stations to include support of Operations Enduring Freedom, and Iraq Freedom.

    “Service chose me,” said Buckingham. “My father and grandfathers served in the military, and I think legacy service is an important component of military volunteer recruitment."

    He stated there were two core values that got him to the finish line.

    “Family is the canvas to which you paint, and thrive to make it better every day, overcoming every mistake,” said Buckingham. “And secondly, leaders need to make their job look enjoyable; no matter the challenge, be the example to someone who aspires to do your job.”

    Buckingham’s personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (2), Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (3), Navy Achievement Medal and various other campaign and unit awards.

    “I’m very proud of what he’s done, he will be missed,” said Kimnach.

    Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) is a strategically located Navy installation composed of three operating facilities: Point Mugu, Port Hueneme and San Nicolas Island. NBVC is the home of the Pacific Seabees, West Coast E-2D Hawkeyes, 3 warfare centers and 80 tenants.

    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 07.19.2023
    Date Posted: 07.19.2023 19:01
    Story ID: 449580
    Location: SAN NICOLAS ISLAND, CALIFORNIA, US

    Web Views: 194
    Downloads: 1

    PUBLIC DOMAIN