Marines shipping military vehicles to different parts of Camp Lejeune’s 156,000 acres.
JACKSONVILLE, N. C. – The largest Marine Corps base on the East Coast opened its gates for everyone with the Department of Defense Id’s and their families Wednesday afternoon, as a monster hurricane barrels in the direction of the Carolina — Camp Lejeune possible in the rose.
Hurricane Florence is expected to hit the area with winds above 100 mph and rainfall measured in feet.
Camp Lejeune Brigadier-General) Julian D. Alford said in a statement that the foundation has passed a “myriad of destructive weather events over the 77 year history,” and he expected that the structures remain resistant to severe conditions.
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When asked if the basis is well prepared for a potential Category 4 hurricane, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Aaron Courts responded defiantly, “Oh, yes, ma’am, we’re marines and we are ready to go.”
He said that the hated Task Force in Camp Lejeune doing exercises at least once per year for these scenarios. “Today is the day, this is just a real-world action,” Courts added.
While the focus is on base, the team is prepared to respond to emergency incidents in the community, but only if the local authorities formally request their assistance.
Residents are starting to trickle in @camp_lejeune shelters for a monster storm taking aim at the Carolinas. Military officials say that the shelters can withstand 170mph winds.@FoxNewsMMR pic.twitter.com/bpGTQMLE1K
— Emilie Ikeda (@emilie_ikeda) September 12, 2018
The 156,000-acre base, including 11 km from the beach, features a team of Marines, large military vehicles, power generation capability to filter and distribute water and emergency shelters.
Camp Lejeune three prepared shelters on the school grounds and in a fitness centre — have the capacity to hold 1,500 people.
“In literally 24 hours, we have this from a gym where people were playing basketball yesterday, to a place that is suitable for 620 people,” said 1st Lt. Charles Strauss, who is in charge of the shelter at the Wallace Creek Fitness center.
Strauss toured Fox News around the facility, to indicate separate rooms for people with specific medical needs and a place to address injuries.
Although there is a limited supply of blankets, pillows and cots, Alford assured in a statement, “Everyone who needs shelter will get it.”
“The general has the keys to a number of new five-story barracks, that he is prepared to open it should we reach capacity, so he is not going to turn someone who comes in here with a DOD map search of shelter,” said Nat Fahy, the director of communications at Camp Lejeune.
While making their beds, veterans Marty Rabello and Douglas Renegar expressed assistance of a nearby, reliable option to the consequences of the storm.
“I have full confidence in those decisions to our house here … or I wouldn’t be here,” Renegar said.
Hundreds of cots fill a gym at Camp Lejeune the base.
Although, the military officials caveated, this is not a five-star hotel. The areas will be packed, and the air conditioning will probably be cut off at a certain point for safety reasons.
Guests should not expect to be fed within the first 72 hours, and are encouraged to bring toiletries and games, together with the provisions.
“We’re going to try to make this as comfortable as a place as possible,” Strauss said. “But comfort is not our priority. Our biggest concern is the safety and the facilitation of as many people as we can if that is possible.”
Strauss assured, as long as Florence continues to rein terror in North Carolina the coast, the shelters will remain open.
Emilie Ikeda is a multimedia reporter based in Atlanta.