By Tony Popp
NAS Whidbey Island Public Affairs
The U.S. Army built it 117 years ago and the U.S. Navy today pitched in to help preserve it. Fort Casey, a popular Washington State Park tourist landmark on Whidbey Island, is undergoing a facelift of sorts after a century of battling age and the harsh coastal elements.
As part of the 8th Annual Ebey’s Reserve Preservation Field School with the National Park Service (NPS), the Reserve chose to work with Fort Casey State Park to restore the James Moore plotting room, which was once part of Battery Moore’s targeting system.
NAS Whidbey Island learned of the unique volunteer opportunity in July from NPS when Kendall Campbell, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest Cultural Resource Program Manager, approached the command.
“The base decided to participate to foster continued improvement of our relationships with our community partners,” said Campbell. “This is our first official community relations event with the commanding officer and executive officer.”
Last February, the air station environmental staff participated in a tour of Ebey’s Reserve by NPS staff, and in turn, the Reserve and NPS staff participated in the NAS Whidbey Island annual 2014 Earth Day event at the Can-Do Inn.
Air station leaders Capt. Michael Nortier, Commanding Officer; Cmdr. Steven Richards, Executive Officer; Naval Facilities Engineering Command employees Allison Crain, Environmental Director; and John Phillips, wildlife biologist; along with Campbell volunteered Aug. 12, 2014 to repaint the exterior of one of the fort’s old electrical generator rooms that will become a future administrative office.
Before getting to work on the project, volunteer Fort Casey historian Dave Kobylk gave them a tour of the fort including the inside ordnance loading platform.
“This type of collaboration also signifies that the air station recognizes the community’s interest in our island’s history and past,” said Campbell, and provides NAS Whidbey Island the opportunity to build upon the historical military connection.