MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
As millions of people evacuated low lying coastal areas from North Carolina to Maine or collected supplies to weather Hurricane Earl when it swirled up the Atlantic coastline Labor Day weekend, officials here also kept watch.
Madeleine Tringali, operations and planning specialist, Operations and Training Division, MCLB Albany, monitored the tropical cyclone’s track in the event roughly 5,800 recruits, 600 drill instructors and other personnel from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., had to flee threatening storm surge, rain and high winds.
Under “Safe Haven” Memorandums of Agreement, military personnel from South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana can seek refuge in Georgia.
MCLB Albany officials make it a point to take care of the base community and thousands of future, active-duty and reserve Marines as well as sailors when severe weather is imminent here or in the Palmetto, Sunshine and Pelican States.
“Our mission is to be proactive (and) be better prepared for potentially bad weather affecting the MCLB Albany installation itself, as well as the potential for any number of the other bases or stations along the eastern seaboard to come to (MCLB) Albany as part of our ‘Safe Haven’ agreements,” said Lt. Col. Don Finn, director, Operations and Training Division.
Through MOAs with other installations, service members who could evacuate here include Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.; Marine Corps Forces Central Command, Tampa, Fla.; Marine Corps Forces Reserve, New Orleans; Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit, Jacksonville, Fla.; Marine Aviation Training Support Group 21, Naval Air Technical Training Center and Naval Air Station Whiting Field, all from Pensacola, Fla., Tringali said.
“It feels good to provide a safe haven for people in need,” Tringali said. “I can only imagine it’s a confusing and hectic time. To be able to provide the support they’ll need to ride out the storm is satisfying.”
She added MCLB Albany communicates with those in the path of a hurricane to find out whether they plan to evacuate here or stay put and ride out the storm.
Parris Island, Pensacola and New Orleans personnel evacuated here in 1999 and 2005 respectively, she said.
To make sure guests who come have accommodations, necessary gear and equipment, installation staff touches base with each unit every year.
“We have site visits with the Parris Island and Pensacola commands that come here before the end of April (each year) with a big group of people, and tour the base,” Tringali said, noting any MOA changes addressed during the visits are also updated. “We show them where they’ll (stay).”
To try to keep plenty of supplies and necessities in stock for the base community and temporary guests, the Marine Corps Exchange would “increase orders with anticipated sales in mind based on the increase in population,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Eric Littlejohn, retail officer, Retail Operations, Marine Corps Community Services, MCLB Albany. “We will take the necessary steps to meet the needs of the increased population as best we can.”
Parris Island brings its own MCX if recruits, drill instructors and other personnel come here, Tringali said.