#CanDo: The Nation That Can Do Anything….

5 May

I am not certain why I appreciate the story of the Marine Corp.’s rebuilding California’s Catalina Island Airport In The Sky as much as I do.

There is a lot to it: Aviation from the barnstorming days. An impossible task for anyone other than the US Defense Department. Fighting SeaBees engineering and Marines. A gift to a grateful nation and a Pacific Island (albeit within view of Los Angeles).

Perhaps it is simply a reminder of a time when impossible tasks took only a few days to complete at a time in our nation when it seems the most trivial task can seem daunting and impossible.

Anyway: here’s the story:

There was an aging airport at the top of Catalina Island off the coast of California. It was costing a fortune for the state of California to maintain. It is a vital lifeline for the island — firefighting base, health care rescues, etc.

Enter the Marines. Seven decades ago, while not routine, Marines and their naval engineering brethren the SeaBees would storm ashore Pacific Islands during WWII and build airbases in the jungle in just a few days. Combat bulldozers and earthmovers, Mattson mats, living in jungle tents.

They can still do that. And they did. It took a little longer than a week,as this story points out:


And here are some mockups of what the airfield looks like now:





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