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Posts Tagged ‘Fort Benning’

I am happy that the Wall Street Journal kept its front page human-interest stories after all when Murdock took over. Today’s feature opened up a side of the U.S. Marines I knew nothing about — protecting endangered species.

Ben Kesling writes from Twentynine Palms, California, “U.S. Marines are taught to overcome obstacles with a minimum of help. But when some Marines prepared to charge a hill in a training exercise here a few months ago, they were forced to halt and radio the one man who could help them advance: Brian Henen, turtle expert.

“The troops were ‘running up the hill and firing at targets,’ Mr. Henen said. ‘Some of the tortoises like the hill also. The Marines don’t want to hurt the tortoise, so they call us and we go in and move it.’

“Mr. Henen, who has a doctorate in biology, is part of a little-known army of biologists and other scientists who manage the Mojave desert tortoise and about 420 other threatened and endangered species on about 28 million acres of federally managed military land.

” ‘There’s a lot of people who don’t recognize the amount of conservation the Marine Corps does,’ said Martin Husung, a natural-resource specialist on the base. ‘A lot of people think we’re just running over things.’ …

John Brent, base environmental manager at Fort Benning in Georgia, says, “‘It’s a well-kept secret’ that biologists are drawn to work on military bases … There’s a chance to do terrific work.’ ”

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