As of Friday, June 1, 2018, 57 members of the Maine Army National Guard’s 136th Engineer Company set up camp in Fort Foster. The National Guard personnel will be participating in Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) in an effort to assist the Wood Island Life Saving Station Association as they work to restore the historic U.S. Life Saving Service Station located on Wood Island.
The guardsmen will set-up what’s known as a “bivouac”; a military term for a temporary camp at Fort Foster for the duration of the IRT. During their time at Fort Foster, the National Guard will be helping to reconstruct Wood Island’s northern seawall as well as rebuilding the station’s historic shed and installing the rough electrical and plumbing systems inside the building. The National Guard will be working closely with the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard as they’ve been provided use of the Shipyard’s boat ramp to assist with the transportation of materials to and from the island.
Those looking to spend time at Fort Foster during the IRT are encouraged to visit. The National Guard’s bivouac camp will not impede or impact enjoyment of the park as it will be stationed behind the main bathrooms. The Guardsmen will be staying in two week rotating shifts, and plan to offer tours and Touch-A-Truck activities for visitors interested in learning more about the camp and construction operations underway on Wood Island.
Hosting the National Guard at Fort Foster provides an exciting opportunity to celebrate part of Kittery’s unique military history and share that experience with visitors and residents alike.