The Marine Corps’ top general says one “negative factor” delaying repairs is the diversion of resources to the military mission at the U.S.-Mexico border.
March 30, 2019, 1:10 PM CDT
By Courtney Kube and Mosheh Gains
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — 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.”