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How Florence is affecting area bases

South Carolina National Guard Soldiers from B Battery, 1st of the 178th Field Artillery work with South Carolina Highway Patrol officers at a traffic control point in Conway, S.C. during the lane reversal of Highway 501 in support of the Myrtle Beach area evacuation to safeguard the citizens of the state in advance of Hurricane Florence, Sept. 11, 2018. (Staff Sgt. Erica Knight/U.S. Army National Guard)

Camp Lejeune in North Carolina weathered the first effects of Hurricane Florence on Friday with widespread power outages, while soldiers at Fort Jackson in South Carolina braced for the storm’s effects expected to hit in the coming days.

At Fort Jackson, outside Columbia, S.C., Florence’s impact is expected to begin in the next 48 to 72 hours, Brig. Gen. Milford Beagle Jr., the post commander, said on Facebook on Friday morning.

“We continue to stock supplies and posture ourselves for immediate recovery actions,” he said.

Further down the South Carolina coast away from the storm, it was business as usual at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island. Photos posted Friday on the base’s Facebook page showed recruits conducting drill practice and martial arts training.

Here’s a rundown of information as of Friday morning from some of the installations that could be affected by Hurricane Florence or involved in relief efforts.

Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Personnel on the Marine base were under orders to remain indoors Friday morning as the base faced hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall, according to a post on the installation’s Facebook page. Officials reported widespread power outages – included in more than 600,000 by 1 p.m. Friday across the state — but no injuries were reported at that time.

Power restoration efforts will begin once conditions are safe for utility crews, officials said.

Camp Lejeune has six shelters on the base, where residents are riding out the storm. Non-essential personnel have been released through Monday.

In Jacksonville, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door Friday to pull people out of a local inn after the cinderblock structure began to crumble and its roof started to collapse, the Associated Press reported.

Fort Bragg, Fayetteville, N.C.

A post spokesman said Friday that officials were anticipating heavy rainfall throughout the day and advised individuals to avoid roadways on the installations. Post Exchanges and commissaries were closed for Friday and Saturday as were all Fort Bragg Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation services.

Fort Bragg personnel have been instructed to contact their commanders for specific guidance, and only mission-essential personnel were to report for duty Friday, according to Fort Bragg officials.

Fort Bragg has been designated as one of four Federal Emergency Management Agency support and staging areas for hurricane response.

Forty high-wheeled vehicles and seven helicopters stored in a hurricane-reinforced hangar at Fort Bragg are prepared to deploy.

North Carolina National Guard

Members of the North Carolina National Guard were working with the state Emergency Management, Department of Public Safety , Department of Transportation, Forest Service, Highway Patrol and other rescuers in an effort to protect from the storm.

Soldiers in the 1/120th battalion helped with evacuations in New Bern on Friday. Rescue team members went door-to-door checking on residents who were trying to weather the storm and evacuated families as the rising floodwaters threatened their homes.

More soldiers were working to try to protect areas from floodwaters. In Lumberton, soldiers were stacking sandbags under a highway overpass near the Lumber River.

Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C.

On Friday, as Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina, Marines here continued their training, a spokesman said.

When South Carolina lifted its mandatory evacuation of Beaufort County, home to Parris Island, the base terminated earlier evacuation orders. All personnel have until midnight Wednesday to return to the base.

Photos posted to the Parris Island Facebook page, dated Friday, showed recruits conducting drill practice and martial arts training. The base is home to about 7,000 recruits and 1,500 permanent personnel.

The spokesman said officials were continuing to monitor the storm and would make adjustments if needed.

Joint Base Charleston, S.C.

An evacuation order remains in place for the Air Force’s Joint Base Charleston. Personnel are asked to remain in contact with their chain of command to know when it is safe to return.

Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C., is housing 1, 973 Navy personnel, family members and 43 pets evacuated from Joint Base Charleston.

Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.

As winds and rainfall began on the base Friday, officials asked those remaining to stay indoors. Following the guidance of local officials, non-essential personnel were given the choice to evacuate. All F-16s have been flown out of the area.

Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.

Florence’s impact here is expected to begin in the next 48 to 72 hours, Brig. Gen. Milford Beagle Jr., the post commander, said on Facebook on Friday morning.

“We continue to stock supplies and posture ourselves for immediate recovery actions. Training will cease before we begin to receive winds (and) rain to ensure the safety of our soldiers,” he said. “In addition, if we are requested to support local emergency operations, trainees will not participate in those efforts.”

Soldiers can call home after the major effects of the storm pass before resuming training.

Beagle urged off-post residents, veterans and retirees in the Fort Jackson area to use on-post facilities to ensure to stock up on emergency items. The pharmacy and clinic remain open. He also asked that people shelter in place and continue to monitor all forms of communication for updates.

Fort A.P. Hill, Va.

The Defense Logistics Agency has established expeditionary distribution centers at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., and Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., with prepositioned stocks of meals, ready to eat; bottled water; gasoline and propane; and industrial generator sets.

Hill has also been designated as a FEMA support and staging area for hurricane response and relief supplies. Others are North Auxiliary Airfield in South Carolina and Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.

Naval Station Norfolk, Va.

The commander of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic lifted the emergency evacuation order for active-duty Navy and civilian personnel, dependents of active-duty servicemembers and active-duty reservists residing in Virginia Zone A.

The order allows personnel and families to return through Sunday and still receive reimbursement for travel.

The Fleet and Family Support Center Family Assistance Line is open until 8 p.m. Friday. Call 866-345-8179 or 757-444-4557.

All Naval Station Norfolk Navy Exchange Mini-Mart locations are closed Friday. Gas pumps will remain open for those using credit or debit cards.

Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.

The Virginia governor lifted the mandatory evacuation order for all Zone A residents on Friday. Col. Sean Tyler, 633rd Air Base Wing Commander, posted to Facebook that the base will allow personnel living in area to return home. The base’s limited evacuation order has also been terminated.

Evacuation allowances will continue until Sept. 16, Tyler said.

Despite the storm’s turn away from Virginia, base officials still expect high winds and storm surges of up to 6 feet off the coast of the base. These elements, combined with saturated ground, heavy rainfall and sustained winds, could cause flooding and damage beyond Friday.

U.S. Northern Command prepositioned resources

About 20 Air Force helicopters from Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Moody Air Force Base, Ga., and Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., are ready to respond for search-and-rescue operations. No requests have been made, as of noon Friday.

More than 100 Army helicopters from Fort Drum, N.Y., Fort Bliss, Texas and Hunter Army Airfield, Ga., are on standby for search-and-rescue, emergency aeromedical evacuation, and utility duties such as commodity and personnel transport.

The ships USS Kearsarge and USS Arlington, along with embarked elements of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Expeditionary Strike Group 2, have been deployed. The ships are positioned to chase the storm and provide Defense Support of Civil Authorities from the sea, should support be requested. The ships have an embarked Fleet Surgical Team, four MH-53 Sea Dragons, six MH-60 Sea Hawks, and three ship-to-shore landing craft utilities. The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, embarked aboard Kearsarge and Arlington, includes approximately 800 Marines, six MV-22 Ospreys, three CH-53 Super Stallion and three UH-1Y Super Huey helicopters, as well as a host of ground vehicles, generators and other expeditionary equipment.

About 240 high-water vehicles from Fort Stewart, Ga., Fort Drum, N.Y., and Fort Campbell, Ky., are available for ground search-and-rescue, commodities distribution, citizen transportation and patient movements. The U.S. Transportation Command has three C-17 Globemaster III aircraft ready to respond within three hours, if requested.

At Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia, 35 helicopters were ready for search-and-rescue missions, with the same number from Fort Bliss, Texas.

Moody Air Force Base in Georgia was prepared to send four pararescue teams, six HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters and two HC-130 Hercules aircraft. Additional pararescue teams from Patrick Air Force Base in Florida traveled to Moody in preparation to join the response.


Stars and Stripes reporters Nikki Wentling and Lauren King and the Associated Press contributed to this article.


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