Home » Education Legislation » $3.6 Billion Needed To Rebuild Camp Lejeune Facilities Damaged By Hurricane Florence

$3.6 Billion Needed To Rebuild Camp Lejeune Facilities Damaged By Hurricane Florence

A tree collapsed outside Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, during Hurricane Florence, on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Sept. 15, 2018. Marine Corps photo.

The Marine Corps is looking at a hefty construction cost to repair or replace hundreds of buildings at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune damaged during Hurricane Florence.

After evaluating storm damage, about 31 Military Construction (MILCON) projects on the base – not including base housing – a significant number were found to be either so damaged or so old it would be more cost-efficient to replace them, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said during a Wednesday hearing of the Senate Armed Services subcommittees on seapower and readiness and management support. The rebuilding cost is estimated to be between $3.6 billion and $3.7 billion.

“The storm was very slow moving,” Neller said. “There was a lot of wind, but it sat on top of the base and rained for two or three days.”

Jacksonville, N.C., home to Camp Lejeune, recorded 25.28 inches of rain by September 17, two days after Florence made landfall in nearby Wrightsville Beach, N.C., according to the National Weather Service.

Many of the Camp Lejeune buildings are old and suffered roof damage, Neller explained. With the long rainstorm, water seeped in, causing mold and internal structural problems. Buildings could be repaired, but the age of the buildings increases the likelihood that similar damage could occur during another major storm, he said.

Concern about future storm damage was raised by Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer, who joined Neller at Wednesday’s hearing. When asked about climate change, Spencer said the Navy and Marine Corps both have major force concentration centers along the coast, putting their personnel and facilities at higher risk of experiencing extreme weather.

Spencer said the Navy has bases “exposed to what we’ve seen now with 100-year storms that come every two or three years. We’re going to have to start addressing this.”

Meanwhile, Neller said the pace of housing repairs is not as fast as everyone would like, but progress is being made to repair housing. Damage to base housing was so extensive at Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point that both communities are not accepting new arrivals.

Atlantic Marine Corps Communities, which manages both those housing communities, reported 70 percent of the 6,182 housing units were damaged by Hurricane Florence. As of November 29, more than 565 roofs had been either repaired or replaced, more than 1,100 home exteriors have been fixed, and 190 homes had their interiors repaired, according to Atlantic Marine Corps Communities.

  • Ed L

    Definitely worth the investment

  • Andy Ferguson

    Here’s an idea.

    Don’t build a base in known hurricane areas.

    • johnbull

      Hmmm, I guess that we should shut down every marine base and naval station between the DC area and the Texas/Mexico border. Having a navy means coastal locations that will be prone to storms of some sort. The solution is to build structures that are, to the extent possible, hurricane proof.

      • Andy Ferguson

        Hmmm…. Hyperbole much?

        I’m talking about ONE major FIGHTER BASE.

        “The solution is to build structures that are, to the extent possible, hurricane proof.”?


        Let’s see those “hurricane proof” hangar designs.

        • waveshaper1

          Take a look at those two brand spanking new aircraft shelters that were constructed on Tyndall AFB (they’re part of that “NORAD/F-22’s secret squirrel mission set). Note; these two, fairly cheap, aircraft shelters didn’t get a scratch during Hurricane Michael while the rest of the base, particularly all the other older aircraft hangers/shelters were devastated.

          • Andy Ferguson

            ….and they cost how much?

            So much for operational considerations and readiness, also.

          • Secundius

            Just to replace one Non-Hardened Steel Hangar ~$26-Million USD. And NO the US Government ISN’T going to Relocate Military Facilities just to avoid a Hurricane and/or Tornado…

          • Andy Ferguson

            So….how much training time is lost while they duck and run for cover?

            How much time and resources are used up cleaning and rebuilding?

            And a hurricane proof hangar costs….?

            What does it cost and what impact is there on operations while ALL those damaged F-22’s are repaired?

          • Secundius

            To withstand a Direct Hit for a 2,000-pound Bomb, ~$70-Million USD. There are Training Facilities in nearly ever state! Depend on what you’re training for…

          • Andy Ferguson

            You didn’t answer my question on the price paid and time for lost training activities.

          • Secundius

            And “Training” has to be done at THAT Specific Location (i.e. Military Installation)! That’s you’re claim?

          • Andy Ferguson

            Answer my question…

        • wilkinak

          A good number of the buildings on Lejeune were probably built in the ’40s. Building codes have changed a lot in 80 years.

          • Andy Ferguson

            What’s the building code for “hurricane proof”?

            What’s it cost?

          • Secundius

            Civilian or Military! Military standards are Much Higher then those of Civilian…

          • Andy Ferguson

            Are you wanting to chat like an adult, or trade childish insults?

            “You’re last descriptive sentence pretty much sums it up…”

            So, what’s the answer to my questions?

    • DaSaint

      That’s silly. Can you predict the path of a Hurricane in advance of its formation? No.

      The answer is to build modern structures up to code. Florida has done that, and fewer buildings are damaged by hurricanes now vs. years ago

      • Andy Ferguson

        Silly goose.

        Florida (edit: North & South Carolina, etc) hasn’t been known for having a hurricane season?

        What’s next? Oklahoma tornados “just happened”?

        “The answer is to build modern structures up to code.”?

        Show me a “hurricane proof” hangar.

        • DaSaint

          I think the article was about: ‘Jacksonville, N.C., home to Camp Lejeune’.

          But regarding your comment about ‘hurricane-proof’ hangars, um, yes, you can. It just depends on whether you choose to spend the money to do it. It’s engineering.

          And many of these bases were built at a time when the frequency and ferocity of these weather events wasn’t as severe as they are now, so you can’t fault them for the decisions made – at that time. Annapolis comes to mind. They are now having issues with the rise in the adjacent river. Wasn’t an issue when it was founded.

          • Andy Ferguson

            Same area.
            All you have, is that?

            “But regarding your comment about ‘hurricane-proof’ hangars, um, yes, you can. It just depends on whether you choose to spend the money to do it. It’s engineering.”?

            So let’s see those designs.

            Money’s no obstacle? Guess you haven’t been keeping current on the last few decades of budgeting…

            What would it prove?
            They’d STILL have to shut down and duck for cover during hurricane season.

            Seems a waste of time for training and maintenance, wouldn’t it?

          • DaSaint

            I guess people need to vacate those cities too. Smh. Look, disasters can happen anywhere, and they do. Flood, hurricane, forest fire, earthquake, tornado. It is what it is. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have national security assets in those locations. Anywhere you have ports and trade, you will have Coast Guard and Navy air and surface assets and their bases. Same goes for the other services. They’re dispersed. But stuff happens.
            Unfortunately, we have infrastructure that is decades old, not designed to modern codes, which can mitigate some of the damage.

            For example, Florida building codes mandate hurricane straps for roof joists. That wasn’t the case 40 years ago. Even in New York, hurricane straps have become part of code requirements for framed structures, and NY isn’t regarded as particularly hurricane prone, though it has been hit hard the last 10 years or so by severe storms.

            So yes, engineering can be helpful, and no, you can’t just have no bases whatsoever in certain parts of the country.

          • Andy Ferguson

            Yeah, keep subjecting those expensive fighters to unnecessary weather.

          • Pat Patterson

            Historical records show that the frequency and strengths of hurricanes has been relatively consistent since these events have been documented.

        • Graeme Rymill

          If you want “hurricane proof” hangars look no further than Andersen Air Base in Guam.

          • Andy Ferguson

            …and the cost of those hangars?

            They HAD to build on Guam, since there’s not exactly a lot of other real estate options around, are there?

            The continental US?

            Oh, there seems to be a few options…

          • Graeme Rymill

            …..and the cost of a squadron of F-22s?

            Relative to the cost of modern fighters the cost of adequately protecting the percentage of them that can’t fly away from a hurricane is small.

            Most other options involve bases that either lack good all year round flying conditions, lack easy access to high quality training areas or are in densely populated areas where intensive air operations are a problem.

            Both the USAF and naval aviation will stay in the Gulf for good operational reasons.

          • Andy Ferguson

            Imagine ALL that training they could accomplish while NOT having to duck and run for cover…

        • DaSaint

          I think you know better, or should.

          • Andy Ferguson

            Clearly, you’ve been busted.

    • Ed L

      and Army and Airforce bases in Tornado areas too right?

  • Curtis Conway

    DO NOT replace the buildings with ‘in kind’ constructs. Build them to handle this kind of weather in the future. This is federal property so we have the freedom to do this.

  • publius_maximus_III

    Quonset huts — no roof to lose, and streamlined shape to withstand high winds.

  • Secundius

    The USCG sustained ~$853-Million USD in damages by the Last Five Tropical Storms, and the ~$750-Million USD set aside for the “Icebreaker” replacement. Was used to repair the damages, so unless the US Congress reemburse the USCG and allocate funding for damaged infrastructure repair. There won’t be an Icebreaker replacement in the foreseeable future, if any…

  • old guy

    One word, NONSENSE. The services have shown an unprecidented, avaricious, money demand since President Trump said tat he would support a military build up after the Obama cuts.
    Watch out that you don’t kill the Golden Goose.

  • aloxxley

    What items in the Marine Corps budget would the Marine Corps be willing to ask for re-programming by Congress in order to pay for these Marine Corps base repairs?

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Well, Homestead AFB was rebuilt. Michael did a lot of damage to bases and facilities. That’s what big, killer storms do.

    • waveshaper1

      Yep, Homestead AFB has been rebuilt twice due to Hurricanes. Here’s a short history/few highlights of some of the hurricane damage to military bases in Florida. Note; Military bases being destroyed by hurricanes in the Florida AO are a recurring problem/cost of doing business in any AO that gets routinely smacked by hurricanes (just ask Spain).
      – Spain versus Hurricane Round 1 (which was followed by many, many more rounds); See Pensacola history for round 1# of Spain versus a hurricane in the Florida AO (Ref; Santa María de Ochuse by Luna and the 19 September 1559 hurricane); Results; Ships sunk and settlement/base destroyed. Spain shuts down and evacuates its first settlement/base established in North America.

      A few canes from the modern era;
      – Homestead Army Airfield versus a Major Hurricane Round #1 (as just one of many examples);
      The 15 September 1945 “Homestead Hurricane” completely destroyed Homestead Army Airfield (destroying 82 aircraft) and the base was shut down/completely closed in December 1945 for about 9 years. Finally, In mid-1954, an advance party arrived at the old base to begin the clean-up effort, and on Feb. 8, 1955, the installation was reactivated as Homestead Air Force Base (HAFB). See Hurricane Andrew for results of Homestead AFB versus a Major Hurricane Round 2.
      – This same hurricane also completely destroyed Richmond Naval Air Station which “WAS” located about 10 miles NNE of Homestead; Excerpt of a few key US Navy assets destroyed in the 1945 Homestead Hurricane; Totally destroyed on the ground: 25 blimps and 366 aircraft (The US Navy still holds the “aircraft destroyed in a hurricane” record). Heck, we only had 188 aircraft destroyed during the Pearl Harbor attack.
      – The 1926 Hurricane destroyed 40 aircraft on the ground at NAS Pensacola.
      – Etc, etc.

      • Secundius

        Even earlier, when “Nuena Gerona” hit Dinner Key Naval Air Station (Homestead US. Army Air Base in 1942) in 6 July 1917…

    • ChrisLongski

      I thought it was Hurricane Andrew.

      • Chesapeakeguy

        It was.

  • Western

    JCS and Mattis have to play this straight. Their CIC knows exactly how to build things and exactly how much they cost and how much time it should take. Get it done, quit complaining.

  • wilkinak

    Half of the buildings being replaced were probably condemned before the storm, or could have been.

  • MNCMNavyRetired

    Send in the Seabees and call it a major training exercise. The Bees need the training and the savings to the taxpayers will be huge.

    • ChrisLongski

      My first thought exactly. The SeaBees are awfully good contractors.

  • Andy Ferguson

    Your’s seems to involve a cranial-rectal conflict.

    Answer the questions.

    Your childish insults merely prove my point, troll.

  • Andy Ferguson

    Speaking of you…..

  • KillerClownfromOuterspace

    100 year storms and 100,000s of places they can occur. Some people don’t understand probability.

  • Andy Ferguson

    Learn English.

  • Andy Ferguson

    Still squirming, I see.

  • Andy Ferguson

    “I thought…”?

    Clearly, not.

  • Andy Ferguson


    I have.

    Your turn.

  • ChrisLongski

    What a Ripoff ! Use Navy SeaBee engineer units and Marine labor ! Far, far too much money for repairs…

    Contractors smiling and rubbing their hands with glee…

    I built a customized 2400-sq foot house for 55 grand. The contractors told me it would cost 125k+…

    • Secundius

      You’re “thinking” Seabees of WWII and not Seabees of 2018. In WWII there were ~70,000 Seabees, in 2018 there are ~ 5,000 Active Seabees and another ~1,000 Reservist Seabees…