A new recruit with India Company, 3rd Recruit training Battalion, is medically screened after arriving at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, April 27. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Brooke C. Woods)
Amid the national emergency caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and out of an abundance of caution, the Marine Corps is taking steps to protect its recruits, recruit training personnel, their families and the communities where they live and serve by temporarily suspending the shipping of new recruits to Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) Parris Island, South Carolina.
Recruit training for individuals already at the Depot will continue as planned, with continued emphasis on personal and environmental cleanliness and social distancing.
“The preservation of our Marines, recruits and their families is the highest priority for Marine Corps Recruiting during this national emergency,” said Gen. David H. Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps. “With that in mind, we’ve paused this week’s shipping of new recruits to Parris Island and will revise our overall shipping plan to ensure we are able to meet the Nation’s needs while protecting its next generation of Marines.”
Poolees should keep in close contact with their Marine recruiters to make sure they understand any changes to their planned ship dates.
Marines at Cherry Point Marine Air Station, where one service member has tested positive for COVID-19, have been taking numerous precautions as a result of the pandemic.
Here is a sampling:
Cunningham and Slocum Gates
Cunningham Gate will be closed until further notice as a result of the elevated health protection condition, currently HPCON-C. All motorists are asked to use the alternative gates, Main Gate or Slocum Gate, to enter and exit the installation. Drivers are advised to factor additional time into their commute in consideration of the change.
Also, morning commuters are advised that the forward Id checkpoint at Slocum Gate will be relocated to the guardhouse along Slocum Road. Drivers are advised to use caution upon approach to accessing the installation. There will still be two lanes for inbound traffic from 6-7:30 a.m. and military police/officers in each lane to perform require checks.
Drivers are advised to pay attention to signs in both areas assisting in facilitating the traffic pattern changes.
Adjust blocking settings to receive official healthcare calls
Navy Health Clinic Cherry Point is conducting 85 percent of its services via virtual or telephonic means to keep the public safe through the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the staff are teleworking and using personal phone numbers to contact patients.
Patrons/Clients/Patients may be missing calls from healthcare providers if one’s phone is set to block, automatically decline or reject calls from unknown numbers. Therefore, officials are advising patrons/clients/patients to adjust their phone’s blocking settings if expecting a call from a member of the clinic’s staff.
It is further advised to enroll in instant messaging as a fast, reliable and secure way to engage with members of one’s care team. The staff addresses the messages within minutes of receipt and relays the information to the appropriate care team personnel.
Child Care Resources and Financial Assistance for Essential Workers during COVID-19 Crisis
Effective April 1, 2020, essential workers are eligible to receive financial aid for child care through the Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program. Patrons who are designated as an essential worker (as defined in Executive Order 121), and are in need of emergency child care in relation to COVID-19 closures, have a number of resources available to ensure that their families are safe and taken care of. Financial assistance will be offered for the months of April and May.
To receive information about local options for children from infants through age 12, please call 1-888-600-1685. Families will be connected with child care programs that agree to meet updated health, safety and operational guidelines.
After calling 1-888-600-1685, contact the recommended child care program to receive the proper enrollment forms.
If you are an essential worker who needs financial assistance for emergency child care, complete the “COVID-19 Parent Application for Financial Assistance for Emergency Child Care” form and submit it to your child care provider. A hard copy of this form can also be filled out and submitted to your child care facility.
Cherry Point Mess Hall
In an effort to better accommodate patrons while adhering to social distancing guidance to preserve force health, the hours at the Cherry Point Mess Hall will be temporarily extended by 30 minutes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday. The scheduled hours will remain unchanged during the weekend.
The current scheduled hours are as follows:
Saturday and Sunday
Public Works Note: Flush ONLY Toilet Paper
Public Works managers remind housing and barracks residents, and individuals working in or visiting facilities across the station, that ONLY toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet. Substitute hygiene items should be disposed of in a manner that is safe, hygienically sound and proper, to not compromise the air station’s plumbing and sewage systems.
Sentries and ID Checks
During Health Protection Conditions, you may notice sentries at the gate implementing new measures such as asking to see the barcode on your ID card rather than taking the card from individuals. This is one way that the MCAS Cherry Point Police Department is working to prevent the spread of disease amongst our community. The Cherry Point Police ask for your patience and understanding as they take these measures to ensure the health and well-being of all the community and guests on the installation.
Modified Chapel Hours and Services
The operating hours at the MCAS Cherry Point Chapel will be 0800-1300. A chaplain and staff member will be available at the Station Chapel for counseling and to answer any questions regarding services or scheduling.
Currently, all services and small groups will be cancelled until further notice and the Chapel will not be taking any reservations until further notice. Contact the MCAS Cherry Point Chapel at 252-466-4000 for more information.
At the direction of the Secretary of Defense, individuals on Department of Defense installations are now required to wear cloth face coverings when it is not possible to maintain six feet of social distance in public areas or work centers. Accordingly, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, which is included under Marine Corps Installations East (MCIEAST), will implement the use of cloth face coverings on the installation to the maximum extent possible and highly encourage the community’s participation in this effort. Much like the rest of the nation, supplies of masks are limited and we have to use what is available.
For those in uniform, face coverings should be conservative in appearance, not offensive, fit snugly but comfortable, must be from nose to chin, no full face coverings, be secured with ties or ear loops (neck gaiters are also approved), preferably multiple layers of fabric if material is cloth, and allow for breathing without restriction.
Finally, here is a letter from the commander of Cherry Point to the Marines and sailors stationed there:
Hello Cherry Point,
The North Carolina stay-at-home order is becoming real now. Each and every one of us is tired of being stuck at home or in the barracks. But what you are doing is having an effect on slowing the spread of COVID-19 here in Eastern NC. While the number of cases continue to increase, they have not done so at the rate originally predicted. Your determined efforts to practice social distancing and personal efforts to keep your hands clean are paying dividends. For that, I thank you.
As of 8 a.m. today, we have fully implemented the guidance from the secretary of defense to require a face covering when entering facilities where the CDC-recommended six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained. This includes our commissary, Marine Corps exchange, visitor center, post office, chow hall, Marine marts, barber shops, etc. I realize this new direction has taken some by surprise and may have resulted in patrons not being granted access to a specific store. For that, I apologize. It is my sincere hope that the word of this requirement spreads quickly so that everyone is prepared for the next visit.
The Marines, Sailors and Civilians for the air station and our tenants continue to do an outstanding job each day. Maintenance Marines are keeping aircraft flying and aircrew are training. Our Marine Air Control Group and Marine Wing Support Group Marines are training to their missions to be ready when the nation needs them. The artisans at Fleet Readiness Center East are hard at work performing depot-level maintenance on hundreds of aircraft to sustain aviation readiness across the fleet. I am especially proud of the Naval Health Clinic Sailors, Civilians and Contractors who are working tirelessly to keep us healthy and ready to perform. It is an amazing team effort all around.
Take time this weekend to relax. Enjoy some peace and quiet. Maybe work on a project you have been itching to get to but haven’t had the time. I recommend against large group gatherings. While the temptation may be there to barbecue and hang out, this is the time to keep the numbers down.
Naval Health Clinic Cherry Point confirmed the first positive COVID-19 test result on Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
The patient was quarantined at home after returning from travel outside of the state, became symptomatic and was tested at the clinic. The individual has been at home in isolation since being tested. NHCCP officials determined that the transmission is travel related.
“MCAS Cherry Point and NHCCP are committed to protecting the health of our community,” Cherry Point command said in a news release. “We will continue to monitor the situation and coordinate with federal, state and local health agencies and to preserve the wellness of our service members, civilian employees and families.”
Military personnel who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 such as a cough, fever and shortness of breath or have been exposed to the virus should remain home and contact their health care professional for guidance or call the Nurse Advice Hotline 800-TRICARE (1-800-874-2273 option 1).
MCAS Cherry Point remains in HPCON-C. Personnel are advised to continue practicing strict hygiene and social distancing already implemented in previous health protection conditions.
Retired Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sgt. Bob Verell makes his way back from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall after playing taps Nov. 2, 2017, at the Veteran’s Memorial Park in Tupelo, Mississippi. Verell, a Vietnam War veteran, served as an infantry platoon sergeant in Vietnam. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross)
Called “The Wall That Heals,” the replica was unveiled in Washing on Veterans Day 1996 by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
It is designed to travel to communities throughout the nation. The exhibit features a three-quarter scale replica of the Wall, and a mobile Education Center. Since its dedication, the Wall has been displayed at almost 600 communities throughout the nation.
CHERRY POINT— Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow (ACT) will host the 4th Annual Brews & Bites on Friday, May 3 from 5- 9 p.m. The event will be located on the Neuse River, at the end of Broad Street, and will feature the return of New Bern’s own internationally-acclaimed stunt pilot, Hubie Tolson.
Attendees will experience an evening on the river’s edge sampling wine, local craft brews from Brutopia and Shortway Brewing, and food from The Tiny Tornado and Dank Burrito. There will be live music from Glorianna’s Tom Gossin and an air show performance by Hubie Tolson.
Brews & Bites was created as a community event to raise awareness for ACT’s efforts to protect and grow MCAS Cherry Point—this area’s largest economic engine and the largest employer in Craven and Carteret counties. All proceeds will benefit continuing efforts to cement the successful future of the base, which includes the next-generation F-35B Joint Strike Fighter.
ACT President and Havelock Mayor Will Lewis, said, “We were extremely pleased with the success of last year’s event and the support shown for Cherry Point. This year, especially with a return performance from Hubie Tolson, we feel we can reach even more people in our community and spread the word about the vital impact the base has on our economy.”
Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow (ACT) advocates for the existence and success of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Fleet Readiness Center East and its civilian enterprises. Board members include leaders from Craven, Carteret, Pamlico, and Jones Counties who work closely with Congressional and legislative delegations to push for laws and budget appropriations that will help preserve and grow MCAS Cherry Point—a base crucial to the success of the U.S. military and the economy of the region. For more information, call (252) 631-5021 or visit www.alliesforcherrypoint.com.
The White House announced that President Trump will be visiting Marine air station at Cherry point on Wednesday to learn more about hurricane Florence damage.
Other details about the visit are being developed, including his itinerary.
Craven County was hit hard by Hurricane Florence last week.
First the New Bern area was flooded with storm surge up the Neuse River. Then Havelock and other parts were hit hard during the hurricane. Then Western Craven County and Jones County endured flooding in the hurricane’s aftermath.
President Trump has declared North Carolina to be a federal disaster area eligible for federal aid.”Right now, everybody is saying what a great job we are doing with Hurricane Florence – and they are 100% correct,” Trump Tweeted. “But don’t be fooled, at some point in the near future the Democrats will start ranting that FEMA, our Military, and our First Responders, who are all unbelievable, are a disaster and not doing a good job. This will be a total lie, but that’s what they do, and everybody knows it!”
In a video, Trump said, “This is a tough hurricane, one of the wettest we’ve ever seen from the standpoint of water. Rarely have we had an experience like it and it certainly is not good.”
For soldiers wounded in battle in the Civil War, the outcome was often grim. For soldiers wounded in World War II, the outcome was far different.
Renowned historian Ed Bearss was with the 3rd Marine Raider Battalion in the invasion of Guadalcanal and the Russell Islands, and the 1st Marine Division in New Britain. In 1944, Bearss was severely wounded by Japanese machine gun fire and spent 26 months recovering in various hospitals.
In his 12th annual visit to New Bern, Bearss will discuss medical conditions over the years and the possible outcome if he had suffered his extensive injuries during the Civil War. See him at Cullman Performance Hall at the North Carolina History Center at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 22. This presentation was originally scheduled in January but was re-scheduled due to weather.
This is the 12th in a series of annual visits for Bearss, who was instrumental in the preservation of New Bern’s Civil War battlefield. One of the leading historians and experts on the Civil War, Bearss was recently presented a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Battlefield Trust and was also the first inductee into its Battlefield Preservation Hall of Fame.
Ed Bearss during his World War II service in the Marines.
Jim Lighthizer, President of the American Battlefield Trust, said, “From his dynamic and detail-rich tours to his recovery of the lost U.S.S. Cairo gunboat, Ed’s phenomenal memory and tenacious curiosity have made him a powerhouse of knowledge and discovery.”
Bearss served as Chief Historian of the National Park Service from 1981 to 1994 and is now Chief Historian Emeritus. A sought-after speaker and PBS commentator, he is also a prolific author known for his work on the American Civil War and World War II eras, and a popular tour guide of historic battlefields world-wide.
Considered “An American Treasure” by the Smithsonian Institution, his books are definitive works on the period.
There is no charge and reservations are not necessary for this presentation. Early arrival is recommended. There will be a recption in Mattocks Hall following the presentation.
This lecture is presented by the New Bern Civil War Round Table and the New Bern Historical Society in partnership with Tryon Palace. For more information, call the New Bern Historical Society at 252-638-8558 or at newbernhistorical.org.
North Carolina’s U.S. Senators Richard M. Burr and Thom Tillis urged the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate Armed Services and Defense Appropriations Committees to purchase 93 F-35 fighter aircraft during the 2018-19 federal fiscal year.
This request, made in an April 11 letter to the Senate appropriators, would add 16 Joint Strike Fighters to next year’s budget. Senator Tillis is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Personnel Subcommittee. Senator Burr is chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
The President’s Budget included 77 F-35s for $10.7 billion.
Senators Burr and Tillis joined with 23 of their fellow senators to urge that funding be increased as part of a cost savings and production effort to ensure that an optimal production rate of 80 F-35As, 24 F-35Bs and 24 F-35Cs is achieved as quickly as possible. Individual unit costs have come down 60 percent over the past 11 years, with the goal of a $79 million aircraft by 2020.
“We are pleased to work in close concert with Senators Burr and Tillis and their very capable staffs on this important funding effort,” said ACT President Will Lewis. “Both Senators have a completely open door policy with ACT and our community leaders on all things Cherry Point. It is also important to remind ourselves that cutting costs by increasing production is a means to an end to ensure that Cherry Point and FRC-East will remain a national military asset.”
Cherry Point is the largest Marine Corps Air Station in the world, and the planned assignment of 94 F-35B fighters to the station by the mid-2020s will mean that Cherry Point will be home to the largest deployment of Joint Strike Fighters in the Marine Corps.
A handout photo shows the Brews & Bites event in 2017.
Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow (ACT) will host the 3rd Annual Brews & Bites on Friday, April 27 from 5-10:00 p.m. The event will be located at the end of Broad Street beside the Neuse River, and will feature good music, great food, craft beer and wine.
Attendees will enjoy a beautiful evening on the river’s edge sampling unique local craft brews and delicious offerings from area food trucks. As an added bonus this year, guests will experience great live music from local band Hot Buttered Grits.
Brews & Bites was created as a community event to raise awareness for ACT’s efforts to protect and grow Cherry Point Marine Air Station — this area’s largest economic engine and the largest employer in Craven and Carteret counties. All proceeds will benefit continuing efforts to cement the successful future of the base, which includes the next-generation F-35B Lightning II.
“When organizing the event, we want to make sure that we call on area businesses to highlight the importance of the base to our economy,” said Will Lewis, President of ACT and Havelock mayor. “Without the base, our local economy would suffer an annual loss of over $2 billion and that would be crippling.”
With the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, Cherry Point is poised for positive growth, but that could change at any given time. ACT will continue to advocate for MCAS Cherry Point, FRC East and its civilian enterprises, and counts on the community’s support for continued success.
Tickets for the event are $35 per person for general admission, which includes a commemorative tasting glass and drinks from our craft brew selection. VIP tickets are available for $50 per person and include early access at 4:00 p.m., one-off/limited beers not available with general admission, a commemorative tasting glass, and extra swag. To purchase tickets online, visit www.alliesforcherrypoint.com.
Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow (ACT) advocates for the existence and success of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Fleet Readiness Center East and its civilian enterprises. Board members include leaders from Craven, Carteret, Pamlico, and Jones counties who work closely with Congressional and legislative delegations to push for laws and budget appropriations that will help preserve and grow MCAS Cherry Point—a base crucial to the success of the U.S. military and the economy of the region.