East Coast mil­i­tary bases brace for Florence

Journal Pioneer - - FRONT PAGE -

The Navy is mov­ing peo­ple and ships ahead of Hur­ri­cane Florence , and the Air Force and Army are both fly­ing ad­vanced air­craft else­where as a safe­guard. Some re­main­ing Marines, mean­while, are dig­ging in their heels. Florence is headed for a re­gion with some of the most well-known mil­i­tary bases in the coun­try, in­clud­ing Camp Le­je­une in North Carolina, Naval Sta­tion Nor­folk in Vir­ginia and the Marine Corps Re­cruit De­pot on Par­ris Is­land in South Carolina. While thou­sands of Marines and their fam­i­lies have al­ready left Camp Le­je­une in Jack­sonville, North Carolina, there was no manda­tory evac­u­a­tion. The com­mand­ing gen­eral said Tues­day that any­one re­main­ing at the base would have food, wa­ter and pro­tec­tion de­spite be­ing in the pro­jected path of the storm. “Since 1941, this base and its Marines have been pos­tured to deal with crises at home and abroad and Hur­ri­cane Florence is no ex­cep­tion,” said a mes­sage from Brig. Gen. Ju­lian D. Al­ford. Some mil­i­tary fam­i­lies and oth­ers took to Camp Le­je­une’s Face­book page, vent­ing fears and ques­tion­ing the base’s plans. Nonessen­tial per­son­nel were re­leased from duty at Le­je­une and told they were free to re­lo­cate with their fam­i­lies to a site within a 500-mile (800-kilo­me­tre) ra­dius of Jack­sonville. Nat Fahy, a spokesman for the com­mand, said the base was the safest place for any­one who had not evac­u­ated al­ready. Shel­ters on the base are ex­pected to open early Wednesday, he said, and there will be a full com­ple­ment of re­sources for those shel­ter­ing in place. Of the roughly 40,000 ac­tive duty troops at Le­je­une, about three-quar­ters live off the base. Fahy did not know yet how many re­mained at the base. Evac­u­a­tions were also un­der way at other bases across the re­gion. Colin Richards, a Navy diver based at Joint Ex­pe­di­tionary Base Lit­tle Creek-Fort Story in Vir­ginia Beach, was among the mil­i­tary per­son­nel leav­ing ahead of Hur­ri­cane Florence. The 28-year-old was mostly con­cerned for his daugh­ter who is one month old. “It’s very sim­ple,” he said Wednesday morn­ing. “We don’t want to live with­out power with a new­born.” Re­cruits were set to leave the Marine Corps’ largest train­ing in­stal­la­tion on the East Coast Tues­day, but those plans changed af­ter South Carolina’s gover­nor re­scinded an evac­u­a­tion or­der as the storm’s pro­jected path shifted north­ward.


This im­age pro­vided by NASA shows Hur­ri­cane Florence from the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion on Wednesday as it threat­ens the U.S. East Coast.

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