MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
No news is good news for base personnel who monitor tropical weather daily for signs of activity that could bring military evacuees from the Gulf or Atlantic coasts here.
“When the Emergency Operations Center at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island becomes aware of tropical weather that could develop and impact their operations, they’ll contact us,” said Col. Terry V. Williams, commanding officer, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., “We’re always leaning forward, knowing that we’re the evacuation point for MCRD Parris Island and other units and organizations who could evacuate here to Safe Haven during severe weather.”
Officials at both bases are hopeful that no major tropical weather develops between now and Nov. 1, the official end of the 2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
“It’s always good to have plans in place in case something does happen. It’s good to know that we understand who can provide what in order to make any evacuation as seamless as possible,” explained Williams.
The base commanding officer returned Friday from a trip to MCRD Parris Island, S.C., which focused on strengthening disaster coordination between the two facilities.
“We receive regular tropical weather updates from the National Hurricane Center in Miami with the latest information,” said Madeleine Tringali, operations and planning specialist, Base Operations and Civilian Training Branch, Operations and Training Division, MCLB Albany. “I also stay in touch with the tropical weather when I’m at home,” she added.
Just because the Atlantic Hurricane Season ends in a few weeks, doesn’t mean the threat of severe tropical weather comes to a halt for the year.
“Several years ago, we had so many storms that they used all the names on the list and had to start over again,” she said. “We also had severe tropical weather in December, which is rare, but it can happen.”
MCLB Albany has infrastructure to support evacuees already identified, as well as a source of services needed to support evacuees.
“For a base the size of MCRD Parris Island, we have approximately 30-40 contractors ready to provide various services, should we need them,” said John Richard, operations and planning specialist, Base Operations and Civilian Training Branch, Operations and Training Division, MCLB Albany. “A lot of coordination and preparation, such as Meals, Ready to Eat, is in place to support an evacuation.”
While at MCRD Parris Island, Williams observed Marine Corps recruit training such as the Crucible exercise, water survival, basic warrior training and bayonet instruction. He also served as reviewing official for the graduation from recruit training of Echo Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion.
“Being part of the graduation was a humbling experience. When I was a lieutenant, my second duty station was at MCRD San Diego as a series officer, overseeing the training of young Marines. At that time, I never saw myself as a colonel who would be the reviewing officer at a graduation,” he said. “It brought back some memories and was a point of pride that I once had something to do with recruit training and I’ve made it so far since then.”