Secretary of Defense visits MCAS Miramar

7 Dec 2022 | LCpl. Jackson Rush Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. – The U.S. secretary of defense visited the innovative micro-grid at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Sept. 28 after learning of how it had been used to support the local community during a recent energy crisis.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III learned the details of Miramar’s support from Mick Wasco, the director of Utilities and Energy Management at MCAS Miramar.

During periods of extreme heat that have threatened rolling blackouts in Southern California over the last two months, the micro-grid has helped the air station generate its own power through clean diesel energy and supplied energy to the surrounding community, reducing strain on the local grid, explained Wasco.

The micro-grid supports the local community through the Miramar Summer Generation Incentive, an agreement between MCAS Miramar and the California Public Utility Commission, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Southwest. The incentive began last summer as an innovative civil-military pilot program that sought to support the local community while also giving the installation energy independence for extended periods when necessary.

The incentive was first called upon Aug. 17 of this year, said Wasco.

“To brief the Secretary of Defense on an initiative that has taken over a decade of work with dedication and passion from so many people and organizations is a real honor,” said Wasco. “His recognition of the value of this capability, to not only provide unprecedented energy resilience to our mission but to support our communities as well, means the world to us and provides the motivation we need.”

The secretary of defense’s visit came after the Sept. 22 release of “Taking Care of Our Service Members and Families,” a memorandum from the office of the secretary of defense that details Department of Defense plans to relieve hardship on service members experiencing sharp increases in costs of living. He was accompanied by his wife, Charlene, who discussed the memorandum with military spouses.

The memorandum described increases in Basic Allowance for Housing for service members who live in 28 areas of rapidly increasing cost, such as San Diego, overall military pay raises, and plans to reduce prices at military commissaries. For example, staff sergeants at MCAS Miramar received a BAH rate increase, from $3,249 to $3,807, effective in October. All U.S. service members are slated to receive a 4.6% pay increase on Jan. 1, and the DOD has set a goal for each commissary to reduce its prices by 25% compared to local commercial businesses.

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar