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American Forces Press Service

South Carolina Guard Makes Big Splash With Artificial Reef

By Army Master Sgt. Phillip Jones
Special to American Forces Press Service

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C., July 17, 2009 – The South Carolina National Guard recently dropped 32 armored personnel carriers and M-113 track vehicles into the Atlantic Ocean -- and it wasn’t by accident.

Since 1997, the Guard has deposited decommissioned vehicles to more than 39 sites along the state’s coastline to create artificial reef environments for fish and other wildlife.

Reef-X is a collaborative artificial reef project with the South Carolina Department of National Resources.

“It is a wonderful partnership that has proven to be a valuable asset to the community and beneficial for wildlife along the coast,” said Army Maj. Gen Stanhope S. Spears, South Carolina’s adjutant general.

Along with vehicles, the state delivered several metal box containers to the Jim Caudle Artificial Reef in Horry County, S.C.

“We’re very excited to be partnering once again with the Army National Guard and the Jim Caudle Memorial Reef Foundation,” said Bob Martor, the department of natural resource’s Marine Artificial Reef Program coordinator. “These organizations have done a great deal to assist our reef program through the years, and these joint efforts have always resulted in exceptional reef habitat.”

The Jim Caudle Artificial Reef, which began in 2000, has the distinction of being the most visited reef in the state, which generates millions in revenue for the local economy through tourism and fishing, officials said.

The reef, which is named after Jim Caudle, a popular local recreational fisherman who passed away in 2000, is now estimated to be more than 260,000 cubic feet.

“[It] is the most popular fishing reef along the South Carolina coast,” said John Frampton, director of the South Carolina Department of National Resources. “The materials create a thriving wildlife habitat and with this refurbishing project, the reef sites are a fishing paradise for offshore anglers.”

(Army Master Sgt. Phillip Jones serves in the South Carolina National Guard.)

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