MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – North Carolina Gov. Beverly E. Perdue and Governor-elect Pat McCrory visited the three bases in the state attached to Marine Corps Installations East Friday to build relationships between the incoming governor and military and community leaders.
“Each installation has its own specific issues and concerns,” said Commanding General of MCIEAST and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Gorry. “It’s important for the governors to have an appreciation for the specific military issues, and get a site visit in order to better understand the varying dynamics.”
The governor and governor-elect arrived by plane aboard Marine Corps Air Station New River where they were greeted by Gorry, boarded a UH-1Y Venom from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269 and were given a bird’s eye view of the area during a helicopter tour. From there, the elected officials were treated to a luncheon with civilian and military leaders at the general’s quarters, followed by a tour of Camp Lejeune, the Memorial Gardens in Jacksonville and Marine Corps Air Station New River.
On what might be her last visit to military installations as governor, Perdue was reflective about her term. “We’ve done a lot of things to make the quality of life different, but at the end of the day as governor and lieutenant governor, this Marine force has been deployed for more than 11 years. We’ve seen the valor and giving of the communities and families, and it makes me proud to have this relationship with the military.”
Their tour also highlighted key locations aboard MCB Camp Lejeune such as the Wounded Warrior Complex, the Naval Hospital, the new base entry road project and the numerous, newly-finished and current construction projects featuring LEED Platinum certifications for energy efficiency.
Midway through the visit, McCrory offered some thoughts on his future tenure as governor of the most military friendly state in the nation: “This tour strengthens my resolve to make sure that we keep and expand the strong military presence here in North Carolina,” he said. “We have the resources, and it’s been extremely good for our economy and it’s important for national security. I have the responsibility to continue to work with Washington, especially during these difficult times, to ensure that investment remains in North Carolina.”
“Everything we do within Marine Corps Installations East affects the state of North Carolina,” said Gorry. “Environmental and energy issues, natural resources, conservation, water and land management, economic impact, transition assistance for our veterans, and quality of life for our military families - everything has to be done in a transparent manner and in corporation with the state. It’s with great satisfaction we have such a bond between the military and civilian community here, as well as with the state legislature.”
Once the ground tours aboard MCB Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River were complete, the gubernatorial party traveled to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point to meet with Col. Philip J. Zimmerman, the commanding officer of the air station, and tour Marine Transport Squadron 1, Fleet Readiness Center East and the Future Joint Strike Fighter Facility before concluding their visit.
“As we move forward during this time of budget constraints,” Gorry added, “it’s even more important to firmly understand all of the issues, all of the options, and have very open communication between the civilian community and the base, so we can make the best decisions for our Marines, Sailors and their families.”