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Operation Hit the Beach II

NAS PENSACOLA, FL -- Four hundred fifty U. S. Marines from Aviation Maintenance Squadron One (AMS-1) stormed ashore at Pensacola Beach again on Saturday, May 16, 1998 to conduct a cleanup of beach and surrounding areas. The cleanup project, dubbed "Operation Hit the Beach II," was the second such trip for AMS-1 Marines -- the first occurred on November 15, 1997 and was the inaugural event in what has become an ongoing community involvement effort by the Squadron, a campaign known as "Corps Commitment."

The Marines, who were organized in eleven platoons, gathered in the early morning hours of the 16th and moved to the NAS Pensacola Old Navy Yard pier. There, they mounted U. S. Navy landing craft (boats) and moved to the Quietwater Beach pier on Pensacola Beach where they were put ashore. Before they got to work, they marched across Via DeLuna to the parking lot shared by The Dock Surfside Bar & Grill and the Escambia County Sheriff's Department Pensacola Beach Precinct Office. There, they formed up to recognize the heroism of Mr. Ricky Thompson, a doorman at The Dock, and Deputy Bobby Cook, an Escambia County Sheriff's Deputy, who saved the life of an AMS-1 Marine whose heart had stopped beating while at The Dock on April 4, 1998.

Once complete, they moved quickly to staging areas then dispersed smartly to three main beach areas on the sound side and on the gulf side. The clean up party included three Marines with diving gear who pulled up dangerous objects from the Quietwater area, a swimming spot popular among young children. The Marines picked up every scrap of paper, cigarette butt, aluminum can and anything else that looked like trash from the water's edge, through the parking lots, to the road from Morgan Park to Flounder's Restaurant on the sound side and from the Holiday Inn to Chan's Restaurant on the gulf side in an Operation that lasted approximately two hours.

Once they were finished, the Marines hustled back to their landing craft and returned to NAS Pensacola where they were greeted with grilled hotdogs and soft drinks.

The Squadron plans to return to the Beach in September or October 1998 for Hit the Beach III in a continuing effort to maintain the beauty of this paradise where many of the Squadron's Marines spend their liberty.

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