Climate and Security: Camp Lejune Still Shambles after Florence

March 30, 2019

Climate change is the ultimate security risk.

So, can we say it now?

Republicans, the party of climate denial, care as much about National Security, and  our Service people, as they do about, say, the deficit.

NBC News:

More than six months after Hurricane Florence ravaged North Carolina, hundreds of buildings at Camp Lejeune and two other nearby Marine Corps installations remain frozen in time, with walls still caved in and roofs missing.

The Marines say they need $3.6 billion to repair the damage to more than 900 buildings at Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Station New River, and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point caused by the storm and catastrophic flooding in its aftermath. And while they have torn down soggy, moldy walls, put tarps on roofs and moved Marines into trailers, so far they have not received a penny from the federal government to fix the damage.

Now the Marine Corps’ top officer is warning that readiness at Camp Lejeune — home to one third of the Corps’ total combat power — is degraded and “will continue to degrade given current conditions.” In a recent memo to Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, Commandant Gen. Robert Neller cited, among other “negative factors,” the diversion of resources to the border, where the Trump administration has sent active-duty troops to patrol and plans to use military funding to pay for a wall.


“Mister Secretary, I am asking for your assistance,” wrote Neller in his memo, his second this year requesting that Spencer push Congress to provide more funds. “The hurricane season is only three months away, and we have Marines, Sailors, and civilians working in compromised structures.”

Neller wrote that the lack of the money needed for repairs, and unexpected expenses like the U.S. military mission at the southern border, are “imposing unacceptable risk to Marine Corps combat readiness and solvency.”

The Department of Defense has allocated money for repairs, but not until fiscal year 2020. Congress has not responded to Neller’s appeal for more money in the interim.

In a statement to NBC News, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., said it is “unacceptable” that “Camp Lejeune and other North Carolina military bases are still waiting on disaster relief we first requested last fall.”

Burr’s fellow North Carolina Republican, Sen. Thom Tillis, agreed, telling NBC News in a written statement that “Camp Lejeune suffered significant damage from Hurricane Florence and Senators Tillis and Burr are working with Congressional appropriators to secure additional federal relief to ensure training and readiness will not be impacted in the long-term and the base can make a complete recovery.”

At Camp Lejeune’s Second Marine Expeditionary Force headquarters, roughly half the structures received significant structural damage and most of the roofs were blown off. They are still covered with blue tarps. Second MEF — or II MEF, as it is usually known — is one of three MEFS around the world, and represents a third of the Corps ready combat strength.

“We’re 100 percent operational,” said Col. Brian Wolford, chief of staff to II MEF. “We’re here doing our work. But the conditions we’re working under are just like when we were in Iraq or Afghanistan.”

Wolford was among the first Marines back into the building after the storm, and describes seeing frogs in the hallways when they first returned.

“Is this the way we want our Marines and civilian Marines to be working?” he asked. “In these kind of conditions?”

3 Responses to “Climate and Security: Camp Lejune Still Shambles after Florence”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    It’s been ~55 years since I last spent some time at Camp Lejeune. It was typically military, spartan but comfortable enough—-expecting our Marines to now live and work in such conditions is beyond unconscionable!

    We are taking money way from this and other real needs to spend on a WALL? Trump needs to go!

    • jfon Says:

      Well, thank you for your service. New Zealand forces were on side with US ones in Vietnam about then – rather bregrudgingly, according to recent revelations, but that’s not the fault of the guys on the ground.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Thank you for the thanks, but i was discharged in 1965 and never had to go to Viet nam. My buddies who did stay in and went over told me that it was FUBAR and the Marine Corps was badly misused, as ultimately were all the troops because of the insane strategies that were employed to “win”. It’s a shame that NZ and AUS got sucked in along with so many other U.S. “allies”, but I’m sure the Marines were glad to have them there—-the time in NZ during WW2 is a treasured part of the history of the USMC.

        Back to the hypocrisy of Trump when it comes to supporting our “wonderful, wonderful, wonderful military”, this is not the first time Marines (and their families) at Lejeune have been neglected. They were treated badly from the get-go when the water supply was found to be contaminated many years ago.

        Now the ultimate betrayal has occurred —-Trump’s Navy Secretary says ” we’re done paying any more claims”

        It brings to mind Kipling’s poem “Tommy” about Tommy Atkins, the British soldier of the 1890’s”

        “While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, fall be’ind”,
        But it’s “Please to walk in front, sir” when there’s trouble in the wind,
        There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
        O it’s “Please to walk in front, sir” when there’s trouble in the wind.”

        “For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
        But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot;
        An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
        An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool — you bet that Tommy sees!”

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