When you think of MCAS Miramar, your mind may first jump to jets or the annual air show. But plenty of action is going on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on the ground of this 23,000 square-foot base.
No one knows that better than Commanding Officer Col. John Farnam, a C.O. that prides himself on being connected to the 1,800 Marines and civilians who serve at Miramar.
It is not unusual to catch him checking IDs bright and early at the gate. From the main gate to the control tower, Farnam said “the number of sorties that they deal with here and the coordination in Southern California’s airspace is unlike anywhere else in the Marine Corp. It’s probably one of the most intense airfields we have.”
Being the C.O. of this base is much like being the mayor of a small city.
“My best day on the job here is when I am out and I seeing all the Marines, civilians and sailors that work at the base,” said Farnam.
And every day he oversees everything– from cutting down electricity by using renewable energy to conserving water use through drought-tolerant plants.
Sgt. Major Richard Charron is Farnam’s right-hand man.
He described his job as “every day just making sure everybody is where they need to be doing what they need to be doing to ensure that the mission is accomplished.”
Keeping Marines ready means constant training. For the Fire and Rescue team on base, that means being able to suit up and respond to an emergency on or near the flight line in four minutes or less.
“They’re here every day, backing us up on the flight line, dealing with emergencies should there ever be one,” said Farnam.
When an emergency impacts the base, the area surrounding the base or elsewhere in the nation, the colonel activates the emergency operations center. Such emergencies include events like the 2003 and 2007 wildfires and 9/11.
And as a Naval Flight Officer, Farnam not only keeps a handle on things on land, but also up in the air.
“Just something about being in the air and having that perspective of the world is like nothing else,” said Farnam.
He will be the first to say that MCAS Miramar is all about the people that work there, not him. Overall it is a hard working bunch who care deeply about what they do.