Camp Lejeune

vibracore
Dave DeWitt

For a coastal geologist, a vibracore is like a time machine. As a generator vibrates a long aluminum tube, Professor Antonio Rodriguez and his two graduate students force it deep into the Onslow Beach sand.

When they pull it up a few minutes later, it reveals several thousand years of history.

blogs.lib.unc.edu

A memorial to the first African Americans in the U.S. Marine Corps is going up in Lejeune Memorial Gardens in Jacksonville, NC. More than 20,000 black recruits trained at Montford Point between 1942 and 1949.  

"Integration was an experiment that was tried in the military," says  Gina Francis.  

She's president of the Montford Point Marine Association Camp Lejeune Chapter 10 Ladies Auxiliary.  

One of Progress Energy's solar energy farms.
Duke Energy/Progress Energy

Duke Energy has announced yet another solar farm to be built in North Carolina. But this one is unique: it’s the first solar farm the utility company has ever built on a military base.

The Camp Lejeune solar farm will be a 13-megawatt facility that could power as many as 3,000 homes. That is relatively small, when compared to the 65-megawatt Duke Energy facility under construction in Duplin County.

NPR — along with seven public radio stations around the country — is chronicling the lives of America's troops where they live. We're calling the project "Back at Base."

Lance Cpl. Jasmine Abrego is an office clerk who dreams of becoming a warrior.

She's flat on her stomach in the dirt, in full combat gear. Suddenly she pops up, slings a 44-pound metal tripod on her back and lurches forward in a crablike run. Finally, she slams the tripod to the ground. A male Marine slaps a .50-caliber machine gun into place.

Sgt. Kristy Rodriguez is sprinting on a treadmill. She's wearing dark green shorts, a matching T-shirt and white sneakers. The pace keeps getting faster.

Rodriguez is at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, taking part in a Marine Corps experiment to determine whether women will be allowed to serve in ground combat units.

"A lot of people think that we can't do it," she says. "I don't think the same."

As she runs, Rodriguez stares at a photo — the iconic shot of Marines planting the American flag at Iwo Jima.

As many as 40 percent of the approximately 2 million military children in the United States are under the age of 5.
Breaking Ground / WAMU

  

The United States has been at war for more than a decade and the men and women that protect our country overseas are not the only people making sacrifices. Tens of thousands of children have watched as their parents get deployed into dangerous conflict zones and have been dealing with the reality that they may never come back or that they may return as someone different.

Contaminated water at the Camp Lejeune military base has been linked to adverse health effects.
Sanjay Parekh, via Flickr

The Department of Veterans Affairs says it's prepared to compensate Marine Corps family members who were exposed to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune.

The V.A. announced in October that it will now begin helping family members who were sickened by water at the base. The Marine Corps has said as many as 1 million people may have consumed contaminated water between 1957 and 1987.

Power plant in Goldsboro, NC.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dukeenergy/11441208065/

  

Private utilities charge their customers a small monthly fee to compensate for the corporate income tax they pay.

The North Carolina General Assembly cut that tax in its latest session, and the state Utilities Commission originally ordered a smaller fee to reflect the changes. But the commission recently reversed that, saying companies could go back to charging at the higher rate and keep the extra money.

Their decision led to a rare, strongly-worded dissent from the commissioners who voted against it.

Someone has posted an apartment on Craigslist that looks suspiciously like the Camp Lejeune barracks. The "lovely" space is located in a "gated community with 24-hour private security." The ad also touts the "active community with running trails" and "motivation specialists to encourage you along your way." Other amenities include a courtesy wake-up service at or around 0530. "Extremely short commute to work!!!," the ad notes. Read the listing:

A picture of the US Supreme Court building.
Daderot / Wikipedia

The US Supreme Court has upheld North Carolina's limits on how long people have to file pollution-related lawsuits.

The case involved pollution connected with a CTS Corp. manufacturing plant in Asheville. But the decision undercut families trying to sue over groundwater pollution at Camp Lejeune.

Flickr/Pam Rutter

For more than three decades, hundreds of thousands of people were likely exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, a Marine base in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

Expert Infantry / Creative Commons

Women are still excluded from certain areas of military service, but the Department of Defense has given branches until 2016 to eliminate "unnecessary gender-based barriers to service". Now, bases are evaluating how women fare during training that was reserved for men.

Camp Lejeune is studying enlisted female Marines who have passed their first 29 days of general training and volunteer for another 30 days of specialized training. At the end of it, their male peers can become machine gunners and missile men.

Contaminated water at the Camp Lejeune military base has been linked to adverse health effects.
Sanjay Parekh, via Flickr

North Carolina's U.S. senators say they're concerned about slow answers in the Camp Lejeune water contamination case.   Republican Richard Burr and Democrat Kay Hagan have sent a letter to federal Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  They want to know why an investigative agency under the HHS umbrella seems to be dragging its feet.  

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Pfc. Cristina Fuentes Montenegro, 25, one of the first three female Marine graduates from the School of Infantry-East’s Infantry Training Battalion course, and native of Coral Springs, Fla., left, and Pfc. Julia Carr
Lance Cpl. Justin A. Rodriguez / U.S. Marine Corps

Camp Lejeune is one of the Marine's largest bases. Here at WUNC, we report on the base regularly because it's located in North Carolina. We used to call it Camp "Luh-JOON". But we recently started pronouncing it "Luh-JERN". How come?

Contaminated water at the Camp Lejeune military base has been linked to adverse health effects.
Sanjay Parekh, via Flickr

 

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that babies born to mothers who drank contaminated tap water at Camp Lejeune while pregnant had elevated risks of childhood cancers and serious birth defects.  

The memorial commemorating the victims of the 1983 bombing in Beirut
Michael D. Dunn / Flickr Creative Commons

Marines at Camp Lejeune are remembering the 1983 bombing of their base in Beirut, Lebanon.

It was 30 years ago Wednesday that a truck loaded with explosives crashed into the barracks and killed 241 service members. Dan Joy was a corporal there. He says he and other surviving veterans have been gathering this week.

"When we started talking, little tidbits of things that we did sort of all came back, you know, and they were just young kids," Joy said.

United States Marine Corps

Camp Lejeune now has a memorial for military service members wounded in the line of duty. A Purple Heart memorial was given an official dedication Friday.

Captain Ryan Powell is from the Wounded Warrior Battalion Regiment at Quantico, Virginia. He says the memorial is being located near the Wounded Warrior Battalion-East headquarters which provides non-medical care for injured Marines on base. That includes a recovery protocol that also treats the mind, body and spirit...

Teachers at North Carolina's military bases are preparing for up to five furlough days due to cuts from the sequester
Fort Bragg

Civilian employees at North Carolina's military bases are back at work after four furlough days from the government shutdown. 

The recall comes after the Department of Defense said this weekend a stop-gap budget law that keeps the military funded during the shutdown includes civilian workers.  Most of the 800 civilian employees who were furloughed from Camp Lejeune are back at work after the DOD reviewed the language in the Pay Our Military Act.

Red-cockaded woodpecker
John Maxwell / USFWS

The Nature Conservancy has acquired a 459-acre stretch of property in Pender County that will help expand habitat for the federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. The U.S. Navy covered half the purchase price in order to create a buffer for nearby Camp LeJeune.

Debbie Crane is the communications director for the state chapter of the Nature Conservancy. She says the property is the perfect place for longleaf pine, which the woodpeckers love. But what has endangered the birds is the destruction of so many longleaf pine groves.

Marines training at Camp Lejeune.
U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tom Gagnier

One thousand Marines and sailors based at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville are deploying to Afghanistan this week.   Combat Logistics Batallion Six will be providing support to a larger unit already in place as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom.  Captain Emma Frowine, one of the Marines deploying, says the Batallion found out about the deployment about six months ago.

Teachers at North Carolina's military bases are preparing for up to five furlough days due to cuts from the sequester
Fort Bragg

Teachers at North Carolina's military bases are preparing for up to five furlough days due to cuts from the sequester. 

The Department of Defense says instructors and other nine-month employees can expect mandatory days off after the next school year starts.  Marilee Fitzgerald is the director of the Department of Defense Education Activity, which oversees schools at military bases.

Marines in Afghanistan receive counter IED training, soldier
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Alejandro Pena

A Camp Lejeune Marine receives the Silver Star Tuesday for his actions of valor in Afghanistan. 

Staff Sgt. Daniel Ridgeway will the get the award during a ceremony on the base.  Ridgeway says he and his men were walking in line toward a stockpile of enemy weapons, which they had been ordered to clear out, when a blast knocked him over.

"My teammate ended up stepping on an IED," Ridgeway says.

Three Marines at Camp Lejeune have been awarded the Air Medal for successfully carrying out a rescue mission in Libya. Military officials awarded the distinguished medals yesterday to Capt. Erik Kolle, Staff Sgt. David Potter, and Sgt. Daniel Howington. The three men rescued a downed pilot near Benghazi during the Libyan civil war in March of 2011. First Lieutenant Robert Martins says the crew traveled 150 miles in less than an hour to rendezvous with the pilot.

An organization that helps wounded veterans is building a center to treat brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder at Camp Lejeune.

Gurnal Scott: The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund has raised 11 million dollars for the center. The fund's president David Winters says he worked with defense officials to identify Camp Lejeune and other potential sites.

David Winters: The larger bases where most of the troops are deploying out to and deploying back from overseas duty.

President Obama
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

Earlier this week, President Obama signed a law to provide health care to thousands of Marine veterans and their families who were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune between 1957 and 1987. Retired Marine Jerry Ensminger was one of them. His daughter died of leukemia he believes was caused by the contamination. For fifteen years, Ensminger has led the fight to get help for sick veterans and their families. And he says it’s not over yet.

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