North Carolina Military Bases
The North Carolina coast is home to three large military bases – MCAS Cherry Point, MCAS New River and MCB Camp Lejeune. If the enemy ever chooses to come ashore on U.S. soil, he would be well advised to steer clear of the North Carolina coast altogether. Cherry Point has a satellite air base, New River, in Jacksonville, which is about ten miles from the granddaddy of all Marine bases, Camp Lejeune.
“New River belongs to us and they have our Ospreys,” said Lisa Strickland with the Public Affairs office. “Lejeune is in Jacksonville as well and that is a base with all our ground units, what we call our ‘grunts’.” Lejeune occupies 156,000 acres of Cherry Point real estate and the surrounding areas, including 11 miles of beach, and supports a population of active duty, dependents, retirees and civilians that amounts to nearly 150,000.
Two Air Force bases are not far away, as the crow flies. Pope AFB is in Fayetteville and Seymour AFB is in Goldsboro. Two Army bases are located in Fayetteville, Fort Bragg and Simmons Air Base. A Coast Guard station patrols the northern portion of the Carolina coast, based in Elizabeth City, and the Navy maintains Cherry Point Naval Air Depot north of Havelock.
Strickland said she did her basic training in Paris Island, South Carolina. “For the Marine Corps there are only two places to do boot camp – Paris Island in South Carolina and San Diego. And San Diego is only for males. There are not enough females to have two places, to have female drill instructors. The truth is we are a minority. There are a lot of females, but compared to the males, we are still a minority.”