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Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

For more than a half-century, Camp Lejeune has been the home base for the II Marine Expeditionary Force, 2d Marine Division, 2d Force Service Support Group and other combat units and support commands.

Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is home to more than 47,000 Marine and Sailors from around the world. These servicemen and women serve with hundreds of company-size units that compose several major commands aboard base. Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, as an element of the Marine Forces Atlantic supporting establishment, provides the operating forces and Camp Lejeune community support and services that enhance operational readiness and the quality of life. Marine Corps Base provides housing, training and facilities. During exercises, Marine Corps Base provides active and reserve warfighting commands with support such as logistics, transportation and coordination for deployments. Marine Corps Base is also responsible for the resident formal school training of approximately 39,000 Marines and provides job enhancement training for 8,000 Marines and Department of Defense employees annually. Courses range from formal Military Occupational Specialty and computer training to total quality leadership classes.

The base is home to an active duty, dependent, retiree and civilian employee population of nearly 150,000 people. The base generates $2 billion in commerce each year, coming from payrolls and contracts let to support the structure required to train and equip Marines.

Camp Lejeune is a three-time recipient of the Commander-in-Chief's Award for Installation Excellence. This award recognizes the base on a Department of Defense-level for effectively managing assets and developing quality programs to accomplish the mission of providing expeditionary forces in readiness. The most recent addition to Camp Lejeune, the Greater Sandy Run Training Area, has added a new level of credence to Camp Lejeune's claim to being the "Home of Marine Expeditionary Forces in Readiness," providing for the training of Marine Air/Ground Task Forces.

The southern portion of Onslow County is home of Camp Lejeune, the US Marine Corps' largest amphibious training facility. Camp Lejeune sits just south of the US Marine Corps New River Air Station one of the largest helicopter stations in the US Marine Corps. New River and Browns Inlets are transitional mixed energy (wave dominated) inlets located in Southeastern North Carolina within the cental Onslow Bay compartment. New River seperates Topsail Island, a 27km developed barrier to the south, from Onslow Beach, a 12km undeveloped barrier owned by the US Marine Corps. Northern Onslow Beach is seperated from Browns Island, a 5.6km undeveloped barrier, by Browns Inlet. Onslow Beach North is not MPF capable since there is no MPF capable port within 92.7 km (50 nm) of the beach. It is not JLOTS capable due to insufficient beach gradient. It is, however, LCAC off-load capable due to average backshore width of 66.4 m (218 ft). Cross-country to partial cross-country exits are available along the entire beach. These exits are too numerous to list individually. Parallel to the beach is a roud that extends 6.3 km (3.4 nm) southwest to New River Inlet and 1.4 km (0.8 nm) northeast to Onslow Beach Road which leads approximately 2.8 km (1.5 nm) north-northeast to Highway 172. There are several buildings and compounds in the hinterland along the road.

Camp Lejeune and Onslow County have come a long way since September 1941 when the 1st Marine Division set up camp in the middle of a sandy pine forest along the Atlantic Seaboard. Units have come to train and deployed around the globe to fight wars. A tobacco barn, farm house and temporary tent cities have grown into a 246-square mile premier military training facility. A bond and lifestyle have grown encompassing the Marines, Sailors, family members, military retirees and civilians who planted the seeds that are seeing Onslow County grow.

The Camp Lejeune story began after World War II had started and military planners were posturing forces for America's eminent entry to the fight. The need for an East Coast amphibious training facility was answered as the War Department purchased an initial 11,000 acre tract of land. With close proximity to ports at Wilmington and Morehead City, Lejeune was a logistical gem. When planners added the remote pine forests and miles of beach the value of Camp Lejeune as a home training base for Marines was unbeatable.

On May 1, 1941, LtCol. William P.T. Hill, was ordered by the 17th Commandant LtGen. (then Major General) Thomas Holcomb to establish and assume command of the base, then known as Marine Barracks New River, N.C. His original headquarters was located at Montford Point and in August of 1942 it was moved to Building #1 at Hadnot Point, where it remains today.

Near the end of 1942, the base took on a the name of Camp Lejeune, named in honor of the 13th Commandant and Commanding General of the 2d Army Division in World War I, MajGen. John A. Lejeune.

The 85,000 acres of land initially acquired by the Government for Camp Lejeune in 1941-42 had been occupied by white and African-American communities and farms since the Colonial era. The plantation houses, cabins, farm buildings, stores, and other buildings were removed. Over some 230 years, many residents had been buried in cemeteries large and small. The Government compiled extensive records on all the cemeteries that could be identified and moved most of the remains to new ground on the periphery of the Marines Corps Base.

The value of this land to the Marine Corps has grown over the years as men have trained to fight wars in Korea, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia and have deployed for such actions as peacekeeping in Lebanon and a host of noncombatant evacuation operations throughout this decade. The idea of Special Operations Capable Marine Expeditionary Units was born at Camp Lejeune and Marines here continue to make strides toward the future of warfare in such as areas as urban and riverine operations.

Camp Lejeune and the satellite facilities at Camp Geiger, Camp Johnson, Stone Bay and the Greater Sandy Run Training Area have a historic value that goes beyond their national strategic importance.

Today Camp Lejeune boasts 14 miles of beach capable of supporting amphibious operations. There are 54 live-fire ranges, 89 maneuver areas, 33 gun positions, 25 tactical landing zones and a state of the art Military Operations in Urban Terrain training facility. Military forces from around the world come to Camp Lejeune on a regular basis for bilateral and NATO-sponsored exercises.

The Marine Corps Exchange complex at Camp Lejeune is the largest in the Marine Corps. With more than 48 activities throughout the base and at the Marine Corps Air Station, New River, the exchange offers a multitude of articles and services. These articles include military uniforms, men's, women's and children's clothing, jewelry, cameras, electronics, sporting goods and equipment, hardware, household items, toys, health and comfort items, supplementary food items and cosmetics. Contract services include car rentals, U-HAUL truck rentals and Western Union Service.

Camp Lejeune is located within Onslow County in the coastal plain of North Carolina. The Base contains more than 153,000 acres, consisting of 26,000 acres of water and 127,000 acres of land, which varies in elevation from sea level to 70 feet above sea level. The 92-mile perimeter of the Base includes 14 miles of Atlantic Ocean frontage, which is composed of a fragile barrier island system and separated from the mainland by salt marshes, small bays, and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.

Camp Lejeune provides the operating forces with support and services needed for operational readiness. The installation provides housing, training facilities, and logistical support for active and reserve Marine Expeditionary Force commands, as well as mobilization and deployment support to the units during exercises and contingencies. Camp Lejeune also hosts resident formal schools for approximately 52,000 Marines and Department of Defense (DoD) students annually. Nearly 90 courses ranging from entry level skills to professional and technical subjects are provided by these schools.

Approximately 14,000 acres of land have been developed for administration, maintenance, logistics, and personnel support facilities, with the remaining lands used primarily for military training. There are over 3,097 miles of primary utility system distribution lines and 450 miles of roads at Camp Lejeune. The installation treats all of its drinking water, approximately 8 million gallons per day, and all of its sewage, about 12 million gallons per day. A permitted landfill provides for the disposal of solid waste, and steam generation facilities produce heat for over 6,800 buildings. Nearly 4,000 students are served by the Dependent School System, and the Naval Hospital provides primary medical care.

Camp Lejeune has an aggressive environmental program to protect and conserve air, land, surface waters, groundwater, and other natural resources. A program is in place to identify and clean up sites contaminated by past waste disposal and spills. Hazardous material pollution prevention programs protect groundwater, the source of base drinking water, and the surface waters which are so important to the quality of our daily lives. More than two billion gallons of waste water are properly treated annually. Forestry and wildlife management programs carry out outstanding management of forests, wetlands, flora and fauna of the base and protect archaeological and historical resources including remnants of past early American cultures.

Camp Lejeune treats and distributes its potable water using the Castle Hayne aquifer, which underlies the Base and is its sole water supply source. Thus, cleanup of past hazardous waste sites is not merely a routine effort to comply with federal and state regulatory requirements, but is essential for protecting the health of residents and employees and the Base's long-term viability.

While soil and groundwater remediation technologies are complex and costly, DoD is downsizing and its budgets are decreasing. Therefore, cleanup programs are continually tested to find new and better ways of achieving remediation objectives with reduced funding. Over the years, we have improved our cleanup procedures through environmental partnering efforts, which have accelerated remediation and resulted in substantial cost savings.

At Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, the cleanup of past hazardous waste disposal sites is not only required for compliance with federal and state requirements, it is essential for military preparedness and long-term sustainability of the Base. Today's remediation efforts will dictate the future viability of critical groundwater resources, which represent the Base's sole source of potable water. The availability of adequate safe drinking water is critical to our strategic role in amphibious warfare training and Fleet Marine Force deployment support.

Training for amphibious landing is restricted at Camp Lejeune because of beach restrictions during turtle-nesting season, and a rare species of woodpecker makes inland training difficult. A loggerhead turtle nesting site is next to Camp LeJeune. North Carolina law protects Atlantic sturgeon, American shad, green turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, and Kemp's Ridley turtle. The loggerhead and green turtles are also federally listed threatened species, and the Kemp's Ridley turtle is federally listed as an endangered species.

Four years prior to the 1978 listing of the loggerhead and green sea turtles as federally protected species, Camp Lejeune implemented an aggressive sea turtle nest protection program. Consequently, Camp Lejeune was positioned to meet the requirements of four biological opinions from USFWS regarding military training impacts on sea turtle nesting and hatching. The Base has received state Wildlife Resources Commission permits allowing it to measure and tag adults coming ashore and to relocate nests threatened by erosion, tides, extreme predation, or military training activities along 6.8 miles of Onslow Beach. EMD staff monitor this area nightly from the first week of June through mid-August. During nesting season, the Marines patrol the beach to protect the mothers as they lay their eggs above the high tide line.

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