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NEWS | April 20, 2006

The problem is -- somebody else won't do it

By Matthew R. Weir 1st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow is a dirty base. 

It’s not the fault of the Marines and civilian employees who live and work there, it has to do with the desert winds of the Mojave and the base’s proximity to the only highway connecting Las Vegas to Los Angeles. 

People cruising to the ocean or to Vegas for a little fun use Barstow as a pit stop for gas, bathrooms and food. The ones who are in a real hurry grab some food to go and eat in the car, throwing their trash out the window as they drive. The wind picks up the trash and blows it everywhere. 

While I was stationed there, from June 1999 to June 2000, we cleaned the base four times. Once each fiscal quarter, the 250 Marines stationed there would line up (it was a small base) and walk across the base picking up trash. 

We did this for several reasons. 

Living on a dirty base is poor for morale. When we could look out across the base without seeing trash, we knew it was because of our hard work. 

We could not look at the trash building up and expect someone else to take care of it. If we didn’t clean up, there was no one else who would. 

At Langley, we don’t have to worry about desert wind or the trash that blows in from U.S. Highway 15. However, we do have to make sure we are accountable for the trash that is on the base. If you step over a piece of trash, you are just as responsible for the litter as the person who first threw it out. If everyone picks up one piece of trash on their way to their car, the exchange or anywhere else, Langley will always be spotless.