- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 30, 2018

AVALON, Calif. (AP) - U.S. Marines will invade Santa Catalina Island off Southern California to rebuild its airport’s aging main runway as a training exercise.

The Catalina Island Conservancy said Tuesday the $5 million project will be funded by donations to the nonprofit land trust and will provide an opportunity to prepare Marines for deploying to remote locations to build or repair facilities.

Catalina’s Airport in the Sky dates to 1941 when it was built by leveling two mountaintops and filling in the remaining canyon to create the 3,000-foot (914-meter) main runway. The runway’s asphalt will be replaced by concrete.

An agreement with the I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton will send 500 tons of military equipment to Catalina in December. More than 100 Marines will arrive by helicopter or boat in January.

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