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Wing, Sea World join forces to save sea turtles

Col. Robert Pavelko, 45th Space Wing vice commander, and Lt. Col. Ed Marshall, 45th Mission Support Group deputy commander, release rehabilitated sea turtles while Chief Master Sgt. Carroll Holcombe, 45th Mission Support Group superintendent, watches along the beach at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Col. Robert Pavelko, 45th Space Wing vice commander, and Lt. Col. Ed Marshall, 45th Mission Support Group deputy commander, release rehabilitated sea turtles while Chief Master Sgt. Carroll Holcombe, 45th Mission Support Group superintendent, watches along the beach at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

45th Space Wing personnel admire the newly rehabilitated sea turtle before releasing it back into the wild (left to right) Mabel O'Quinn, 45th Civil Engineer Squadron biologist and conservation law enforcement officer, Chief Master Sgt. Carroll Holcombe, 45th Mission Support Group superintendent, Lt. Col. James Sayres, 45th Space Wing Detachment 1 commander, and Col. Robert Pavelko, 45th Space Wing vice commander.

45th Space Wing personnel admire the newly rehabilitated sea turtle before releasing it back into the wild (left to right) Mabel O'Quinn, 45th Civil Engineer Squadron biologist and conservation law enforcement officer, Chief Master Sgt. Carroll Holcombe, 45th Mission Support Group superintendent, Lt. Col. James Sayres, 45th Space Wing Detachment 1 commander, and Col. Robert Pavelko, 45th Space Wing vice commander.

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- The 45th Space Wing assisted in the release of two rehabilitated sea turtles back into their native habitat at Cape Canaveral Air Force station Nov. 29.

The first turtle was captured in June by a man fishing at Jetty Park. A hook was embedded in its left upper jaw when this man pulled in his fishing line, and he turned the turtle over to park personnel.

The second turtle was captured in August by a crew from the University of Central Florida, conducting a juvenile green sea turtle study for the Air Force in the
Trident Basin. The turtle had a large crack in the bottom of its shell and was malnourished when captured.

These sea turtles were originally passed on to Sea World for rehabilitation after coordination with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the agency responsible for the management of sea turtles in Florida.

When the sea turtles were fully rehabilitated, the 45th Space Wing was contacted by Sea World to assist in release of the turtles back into their native habitat.

Martha Carroll 45th, Civil Engineer Squadron biologist, coordinated the transfer from Sea World to the Air Force.

The Trident Basin was chosen because it was close to their original point of capture, had low boat traffic and contained ideal food sources for the sea turtles.

The 45th Space Wing personnel who assisted with the sea turtle release were glad to be a part of the project.

"The 45th Space Wing expresses gratitude to both the FWC and Sea World for rehabilitating these sea turtles and allowing our personnel the opportunity to release these animals back into the wild," said Angy Chambers, 45th Civil Engineer Squadron lead wildlife biologist. "It reinforces the Air Force's commitment in the protection of these species at the 45th Space Wing," she said.