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Quantico Construction Projects On Tap for Winter Completion

QUANTICO, Va. — As the calendar draws closer to the start of its fourth quarter, two of the most prominent construction projects aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico are on schedule for completion.

Traffic relief will be a step closer too with next month’s scheduled completion of the Russell Road Phase II project, and Marine Corps University’s expansion is on tap for occupancy by Jan. 2.

The latest phase is Russell Road’s second of three planned stages designed to ultimately widen the half mile of road between the Marine Corps Federal Credit Union and the Davis Center from two to four lanes. The project has proven a challenge at times to base traffic with partial road closures during peak traffic hours in the morning and late afternoon.

The $6 million Russell Road Phase II endeavor, which involves the relocation of sanitary sewer and the installation of a storm water pipe underway, in addition to adding two new traffic lanes, is tentatively slated for completion in early December. Work on this project is being performed by Arlington-based Corinthian Contractors.

News
Gadson: Another Round of BRAC Possible for Area

LORTON, Va. — Fort Belvoir’s Commander Gregory D. Gadson will retire from his post in September; on the heels of what he said could be another round of base closures and realignments.

While there is no official talk of such a move, Gadson said Friday he thinks another round of BRAC, the Base Realignment and Closure commission as its referred to by federal officials, is a real possibility.

“I think there will be another BRAC, though, Congress has forbid us to use the word BRAC,” said Gadson to a group of business owners at a Prince William Chamber of Commerce event in Lorton.

The two military bases in our area, Fort Belvoir and Quantico Marine Corps Base, are fresh off a round of BRAC that was passed into law in 2005. The order meant military offices located inside commercial office buildings in Arlington closed and relocated to the secure military bases.

Fort Belvoir was most impacted by BRAC 2005 than any other military installation as it saw 20,000 new federal workers transferred to the base, on the main post, the new National Geospatial Agency in Springfield, and Rivana Station outside Charlottesville. Quantico saw about 3,000 new federal employees move onto base as part of BRAC. The majority of the BRAC relocation was complete by 2012.

Gadson will leave his post retiring after 26 years of service, with tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He’s stepping down amid explosive growth at Fort Belvoir as a new 270,000 square feet Exchange store has just opened – the largest in the U.S. – as well as the new Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.

The base has also become a leader in proving military housing to those who work on the base, as well as some Marines who work at Quantico. Fort Belvoir now contracts with a private property management firm to maintain its 2,100 military housing units, some newly built as part of BRAC.

“We can officially say that BRAC has ended but the work of BRAC at Fort Belvoir continues,” said Gadson.

There are other improvements underway at the base, including widening U.S. 1 from Telegraph Road to six lanes from Va. 235 (Mount Vernon Highway), as well as adding a new Twitter account to increase the garrison’s social media presence.

“I don’t tweet, but someone else does maintain that,” quipped Gadson.

The commander will remain in the area after retiring, he said. He continues to encourage small businesses to hire military veterans.

Traffic
Bridge Hit by Dump Truck Needs Repair

050914-bridgeQUANTICO, Va. — An overpass in the Interstate 95 Express Lanes corridor has been damaged.

Construction crews must repair a girder on the on a bridge carrying Interstate 95 traffic over Russell Road, just outside the rear entrance to Quantico Marine Corps Base.

A dump truck struck a girder on the bridge, which lies within the 95 Express Lanes Project where crews are working to convert the highway’s existing HOV lanes between Dumfries and the Pentagon to toll lanes, as well as extend them south from Dumfries to North Stafford.

While the bridge work isn’t expected to impact I-95 traffic, orange cones will go up on Russell Road – an area that can become congested during the morning and evening rush hours as workers enter and exit the Marine Corps Base.

The work was due to begin on or about May 5 and is expected to last into June.

 

News
Quist Only New Mayoral Face in Prince William’s Towns

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — In the wake of Tuesday’s town elections in Prince William County, much is still the same except in Occoquan.

That’s where Mayor-Elect Elizabeth A.C. “Liz” Quist will replace the retiring Mayor Earnie Porta, whose during his six-year term became the biggest cheerleader for the tiny town on the Occoquan River. He’ll most likely seek higher office during a later election.

Quist, a tax accountant, says she’ll champion issues like financial responsibility, as well as creating an operating budget that isn’t so dependent upon revenues generated from the town’s two highly attended spring and fall craft fairs.

“We’re a growing town, and we’ve got a great staff that’s put together, and it’s time we polish our procedures that we have in place to make sure they’re efficient,” said Quist.

Part of that new staff is Town Manager Kirstyn Barr who was hired earlier this year. And, serving as town crier over the past few years has been an email newsletter distributed by Porta – something Quist said she may try to replace but will never be able to duplicate.

“Earnie has done a lot of set us up… we’ve got a strong council, now…we have to make sure that we work together,” said Quist. “There will be some changes and people with feel that after having the same leader for six years, but I hope people won’t have to feel a huge shift.”

While Quist ran unopposed, the mayors of Prince William’s others towns of Dumfries, Haymarket, and Quantico all had candidates looking to unseat sitting mayors. All of the challengers failed.

Dumfries

In Dumfries, Gerald “Jerry” Foreman will hold onto his seat, after briefly dropping out of the race on April 1 before jumping back in, beating Vice-Mayor Willie J. Toney by 87 votes.

“This is a message from the voters telling the council members work with the mayor by saying ‘this is the mayor we want, you gave us a choice, and we’re telling you which mayor has the vision and which mayor which mayor is going to move us forward,’ and they’re telling the council move… and work with the mayor,” said Foreman.

All of the incumbent council members – Gwen Washington, Kristen Forrester, and Derrick Wood – will keep their seats after two write-in candidates – Cydny Neville and Christy Hart – failed to get enough votes to unseat them.

Quantico

Mayor Kevin Brown will keep his seat in Quantico, beating out former Mayor Isis Ross Tharpe by 46 votes of the 146 that were cast on Tuesday.

“I believe the outcome of the mayoral race shows that the people in town have recognized the progress made over the past two years and approve of the direction the town is headed in,” Brown wrote in a prepared statement.

Brown applauded residents for re-electing Vice Mayor Russell “Rusty” Kuhns, and noted he was surprised voters installed the husband and wife team of Councilwoman Peggy Alexander and Councilman-Elect Lucian G. “Alex” Alexander on the dais.

Haymarket

In Haymarket, Mayor David Leake will keep his seat despite being censured by his fellow councilmembers several times over an internal investigation involving the town’s police chief. He beat out challenger Josh Mattox by 68 of the 264 votes cast on Tuesday.

News
Flag Returns to Statue, Repairs Needed

The flag on the Iwo Jima statute at the main entrance to Quantico Marine Corps Base is flying again.

The banner was removed March 31 after a crack in the statue was found, on the hand of one of the men in the sculpture.

Quantico spokesman 2nd Lt. Matthew Rojo says repair work is scheduled for the statue. He’s not clear how long it will take to repair the hand, however.

A target of vandals, the statue was defaced in 2012 when a line of pink spray paint was smeared on the base of the statue.

Architects used the highly recognizable statue, modeled after a World War II photograph, to design the National Museum of the Marine Corps which opened in 2006.

News
U.S. Flag Goes Missing from Iwo Jima Statue

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QUANTICO, Va. — Something symbolic was missing from one of our community’s most recognized statues Monday.

The U.S. Flag was removed from the Iwo Jima statue outside Quantico Marine Corps Base. A replica of the original Iwo Jima statue that stands at Arlington National Cemetery, the sculpture stands outside the main entrance to the base and can prominently be seen by passersby on U.S. 1, Joplin and Fuller roads.

Quantico Base spokesman 2nd Lt. Matthew Rojo told Potomac Local News why the flag was missing:

“The flag was taken down this morning when we noticed a crack in the statue’s hand which provides the upper support for the mast. Facilities is looking into what needs to be done to reinforce the hand.”

We don’t know how long repairs to the statue are expected to take.

The Island of Iwo Jima was the site of where, in 1945 during World War II and a fierce fight with Japanese soldiers, U.S. Marines raised the flag at the highest point of the island. Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal snapped an iconic photo of the flag raising.

The photo has also been used for the inspiration of the design for the National Museum of the Marine Corps at Quantico.

Traffic
Stafford Supervisor Takes Issue with Military Vehicles on 610

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — Have you seen military vehicles traveling on Garrisonville Road lately?

Several Marines were using light armored vehicles, known as LAVs, when training at Quantico last weekend. Some drivers, including Garrisonville District Supervisor Laura Sellers, noticed the LAVs using Va. 610 (Garrisonville Road) to transport Marines to the training sites.

Sellers noted seeing the LAVs during a discussion about the Quantico Joint Land Use Study which, among other things, talks about the need for military personnel to use Va. 610 to transport vehicles to the western portions of Quantico, where many of the base’s muntions ranges are located.

“It doesn’t’ happen often, but just last week I have a question about what that does to our roads. If they’re going to be out there are they going to make sure 610 is going to be taken care of,” asked Sellers. “There’s wear and tear on the road, and it’s a heavily-traveled road.”

Quantico officials point out that the LAVs are “road ready” and use pneumatic tires, not tank tracks; the same kind of tires you would find on any truck. As more Marines return home from Iraq and Afghanistan, there is the potential that even more training will be conduced on base to warfighters can maintain their training.

But the military vehicles, like large trucks, are heavy, and vehicle weight is something that Virginia State Police monitor at places like truck weigh scales along interstate highways.

“Weight matters, and tanks are not light,” Stafford Rockill District Supervisor Cord Sterling chimed in.

Sterling also serves on Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board with whose entire mission is highways and transportation.

Base officials say Stafford residents shouldn’t be alarmed to see the LAVs on Va. 610.

“Tactical vehicles are designed to support military and humanitarian missions and as such will look different from something you would drive off the showroom floor at a dealership. But as far as contact with the road and impact on infrastructure are concerned, most military vehicles are similar to their civilian counterparts,” said Quantico spokesman 2nd Lt. Matthew Rojo. “Also, because safety is one of our top priorities it important to mention that each military driver is specially licensed to operate their vehicles to ensure the roads are safe for all who share them.”

Officials from Stafford County who worked on the Joint Land Use Study told Sellers and Sterling that more discussion needs to take place between the county and the base, and that Stafford County could provide some type of escorts for the military vehicles during evening hours when traffic on Va. 610 is lighter.

There has also been discussion about building a road on the base itself so vehicles wouldn’t have to use Va. 610 at all, but there is currently no funding for such a military thoroughfare.

News
Quantico’s Maxwell to Help Commemorate James Madison’s Birthday

QUANTICO, Va. — Col. David Maxwell, the commanding officer at Quantico Marine Corps Base, will lay a special wreath commemorating the 262nd birthday of President James Madison.

Maxwell will attend the celebration honoring the 4th U.S. president at Madison’s Virginia home, Montpelier.

The Marine Corps Band from Quantico will also perform.

Here’s more information from a statement from the Marine Corps Base:

The Marine Corps Base Quantico Marine Band will be performing at the ceremony, while the Base Color Guard escorts the base colors and the national ensign. An Honor Guard will also be present, in the form of a firing squad, presenting a 21-gun salute to the former commander-in-chief.

Madison is known as the “father of the constitution” for his role in developing the U.S. governing document.

The ceremony begins at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Montpelier. The gates to the historic property open at 9 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. Admission on Sunday is free.

Maxwell returned form serving in Afghanistan in February 2012 and was named commander of Quantico Marine Corps Base shortly thereafter. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1988.

 

News
Updated: Quantico, Stafford HAZMAT Crews Find No Leak

Updated 

A Freon detection unit at a building on Quantico gave a false alarm this morning prompting a HAZMAT response.

Some 40 to 50 people who were inside the building at the time of the alarm were evacuated, but all were let back inside the building after officials deemed it was safe, according to Quantico Assistant FChief Palermo said.

Fire and rescue crews from Stafford County and Quantico responded to the call while crews from Prince William County helped to “backfill” a Quantico fire station while crews were on the scene, according to Quantico fire and emergency services assistant chief Dwayne Palermo

Rescue crews spent one hour and used standalone gas detection devices to check for leaks and none were found.

No one was injured and a work order has been placed to fix the malfunctioning alarm system.

10 a.m. 

Fire and rescue crews from Prince William and Stafford counties were sent to Quantico this morning for a report of a HAZMAT.

We’re working to find out more information about what is happening on the base. A Quantico spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Emergency crews were told to use MCB 3 to gain access to the HAZMAT area, one of several roads located on the base.

 Photo credit: File photo

News
Suspected Poacher at Work at Quantico, Police Investigate

QUANTICO, Va. — The body found sprawled in bloodied snow off Application Trail in Training Area 8 of Marine Corps Base Quantico had been shot, beheaded and skinned. The body cavity was still warm when authorities arrived at the scene in the afternoon of Dec. 10, 2013.

It was the carcass of a buck, shot with a rifle in an archery-only zone and most likely shot from the road. Along with the head, the backstrap — the choicest cut of meat — had also been removed.

“That’s the nastiest type of poaching there is,” said Euel Tritt, head of conservation law enforcement for the base. “What a waste. You’ve got 50 pounds of meat that the buzzards eat.”

It’s also an offense that carries heavy penalties and, in the case of a Marine, can end a career.

Read more in the Quantico Sentry.

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Telegraph Bridge Reopening Planned, Will Reconnect Quantico with U.S. 1

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Picture 1 of 4

QUANTICO, Va. — A new bridge that will connect the west side of Quantico Marine Corps Base with U.S. 1 is nearly complete.

The reconstructed bridge carries traffic via Telegraph Road over Interstate 95 onto a portion of the base where the Naval Criminal Investigative Service is located, as well as the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

Work to rebuild the bridge began this past spring.

More in a press release:

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) announced that the new Telegraph Road Bridge, which crosses over I-95, near Marine Core Base Quantico (MCBQ) is in its final stage of construction. Crews are completing finishing work on the new bridge deck, as well as the fencing.

The bridge will remain closed to traffic until early February 2014 to accommodate a MCBQ construction project at the nearby Russell Knox Building. MCBQ will use the Telegraph Road corridor (specifically areas west of the bridge on Quantico property) for staging and the safe delivery of concrete beams to the construction site at the Russell Knox Building. Truck deliveries may occur 24 hours a day using Telegraph Road, Tallmadge Road and Russell Road, but will not be crossing the bridge.

Drivers will continue to follow current detour signs to U.S. Route 1 or Russell Road in order to access I-95 or Telegraph Road. Drivers should continue to expect an additional five to eight minute delay during peak travel times.

Construction of the new Telegraph Road Bridge began last April, at which time the old bridge was closed and demolished. The bridge spans over I-95 and the future new Express Lanes.

News
Study: Soundproofing New Homes & Schools, Limited Growth Critical to Quantico Sustainability

QUANTICO, Va. — Military officials want local governments to require better sound protection in homes and other structures built around Quantico Marine Corps Base.

In a new Joint Land Use Study, or JLUS, released today by Quantico and Stafford County, base officials cite creating new sound attenuation standards as one of eight critical needs facing operations at the crossroads of the Marine Corps, as well as future development around the military installation.

The new guidelines would need to be put in place for new homes, churches, and other public buildings. The study specifically cites putting guidelines in place for a new Moncure Elementary School to be built in North Stafford near the base’s boundary line.

Noise from demolition ranges on the base the frequently produce loud booms that rattle windows, and that been known to shake whole houses, which often lead to complaints from area residents.

Quantico also wants more input and review authority when it comes to approving new development around the base. For that, the study recommends a Military Influence Area overlay district where base officials can review development plans for construction both on and off the base. The district would include Stafford County’s heavily-populated Garrisonville Road corridor, as well as sliver of land in Prince William County near where the county’s school division headquarters are located. An implementation of such a district could limit the density of neighborhoods, building height, as well as cell phone towers, so structures don’t interfere with military aircraft.

If the military impact plan would be placed in effect in the rural area along Va. 610 west of Joshua Road in Stafford County, buildings like hospitals, assisted living facilities, day cares, commercial or industrial areas, medium to high density residential develop, as well as sports centers or outdoor amphitheaters would not be permitted.

According to the study, soundproofing existing homes near the base could cost as much as $10,000 per home but the cost is only slightly higher when soundproofing new home construction. The JLUS also discusses the option of a mandatory written real estate disclosure where the seller of any property in the Military Influence Area would warn residents of the high noise potential from the base.

Transportation improvements at Quatnico’s Fuller Gate, which provides access to the base near the intersections of Russell Road and U.S. 1, and sits east of Interstate 95, are also identified as critical in the short term. The base wants to work with local governments to acquire additional rights of way to widen Russell Road and existing ramps that carry traffic from the 2-lane facility to the 4-lane U.S. 1 that bridges the gap between Prince William and Stafford counties, according to JLUS findings.

Russell Road is also the gateway to the 719,000, $323 million Russell-Knox Building sitting west of I-95. The building is now home to some 6,000 federal workers whose jobs were moved to Qauntico following a 2005 Base Realignment and Closure action.

The study was completed by Quantico and Stafford County, along with Fauquier and Prince William counties. New growth in these areas could bring increased noise complaints to the military, and could “compromise the overall mission viability” for the base.

Quantico injects $5.9 billion into the local economy and is linked to 46,490 jobs, according to the study.

News
Storm Postpones Quantico’s JLUS Land Study Public Meeting in North Stafford

QUANTICO, Va. — Those wanting to know more about the future of development near Quantico and surrounding areas will have to wait a bit longer.

Inclement weather was forced officials to postpone an informational meeting for the Quantico Joint Land Use Study, or JLUS, originally scheduled tonight at the Hilldrup Moving and Storage Facility, until next week. The new meeting time is 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, at Hilldrup Moving and Storage.

The study examined areas in Prince William, Stafford, and Fauquier counties and is expected to present ideas and suggestions on how best to center development in these counties with the Quantico Marine Corps Base in mind.

Two other JLUS presentations are scheduled, one in Fauquier County on Wednesday at the Old Cedar Run Rescue Squad Building at3558 Catlett Road in Catlett, and in Prince William inside the County Government Center’s Development Services Building

at 5 County Complex Court, Room #202 in Woodbridge.

 

News
Findings of Quantico Growth Study to be Presented

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — A joint land use study at Quantico has been underway as the region examines how to better grow with the crossroads of the Marine Corps in its back yard. Now that commission will present its findings.

The joint land use study, or JLUS, has examined localities in Stafford, Prince William, and Fauquier counties, probing future development that is planned near the boundaries of the Marine Corps Base. The study will also help to determine what future activities will be planned at Quantico.

“The community-driven JLUS has documented existing and future operations at MCB Quantico, as well as current and planned land use and development-related proposals in Stafford, Prince William, and Fauquier Counties, near the base’s boundaries,” stated a press release.

A set of actions derived from the JLUS will be presented at three upcoming workshops in each respective county.

More in a press release:

MONDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2013

STAFFORD COUNTY, 7-9 PM

Presentation at 7:30 PM

Hilldrup Moving & Storage 4022 Jefferson Davis Highway Stafford, VA 22554

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2013

FAUQUIER COUNTY, 7-9 PM

Presentation at 7:30 PM

“Old” Cedar Run

Rescue Squad Building

3558 Catlett Road

Catlett, VA 20119

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2013

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, 7-9 PM

Presentation at 7:30 PM Development Services Building

5 County Complex Court

Room #202

Prince William, VA 22192

Stafford County was the lead jurisdiction for the JLUS. Panels from all three impacted jurisdictions participated in the study.

News
Bald Eagles Thrive at Quantico

QUANTICO, Va. — The bald eagle was chosen as the United States’ emblem, a symbol of strength, majesty and freedom, in 1787, but its relationship with the American people was uneasy for almost another 200 years, until its population dwindled to the point that a bald eagle sighting became a rare treat.

Now that bald eagle numbers are back on the rise, and that relationship is again being put to the test, Marine Corps Base Quantico finds itself in a region that ties together three different populations of the birds from as far as Canada and Florida.

“The Potomac [River] is a critical area for eagle conservation,” said Jeff Cooper, nongame bird coordinator for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, noting that the raptors are drawn to brackish tidal waters by an abundance of prey, from the shad that spawn there to the blue catfish that were introduced to Virginia’s tidal waters in the 1970s, to the waterfowl that winter there.

Though the regal-looking bird is now generally regarded with a sort of awe, founding father Benjamin Franklin famously wrote that the bald eagle is “a bird of bad moral character” and “a rank coward.”

Farmers, too, have had their differences with this symbol of U.S. sovereignty and freedom.

“Raptors in general, in the old days, were just considered vermin, and they were shot by the thousands,” Cooper said, noting that this continued into the 1960s and ’70s. Add to this the effects of DDT, which was banned for use as a pesticide in 1972 due to its damaging effect on bird eggshells, and by the 1970s, there were only about 30 breeding pairs of bald eagles in all of Virginia.

After being placed under the protection of the precursor to the Endangered Species Act in 1967, the bald eagle was delisted in 2007, and Cooper said Virginia is now home to about 730 breeding pairs.

Many more of the birds, however, make certain areas of the commonwealth their seasonal home, and Quantico is at the center of one of those bald eagle “concentration areas.”

As waters around Florida warm up in the summer, many of the fish head north, and the eagles follow, Cooper said. “So, for eons, there’s been a migration northward to the [Chesapeake] Bay area, where there’s a much more accessible food source and a more abundant fishery.”

These summertime visitors begin to arrive around early May and peak in mid-June and July, Cooper said. They return home in the fall, and around December, bald eagles from New England and Canada begin to arrive, peaking in late January and early February. Their numbers vary depending how harsh the winter is.

Like many species, eagles found in northern climes are noticeably larger than their subtropical counterparts, and the wintertime migrants tend to feed on ducks and geese, as well as fish and whatever else they can find.

During both summer and winter, the visiting birds flock to the tidal waters of the Potomac, Rappahannock and James rivers, as well as locations across the bay. There, they gather in six different “concentration areas.” One of these runs from Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren, Va., north to Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge, with Quantico right at its center.

Cooper said the migrant birds are enough to cause a several-fold increase in the local population, with more than 750 bald eagles between Dahlgren and Fort Belvoir, on both sides of the Potomac, during the peak months.

However, Quantico also has its own resident bald eagle population. This year, there are three active nests documented on the base, said Tim Stamps, head of the base Natural Resources Section. In recent years, there have been four, but the pair that occupied a nest near Lunga Reservoir appears to have moved elsewhere this year. Stamps said it’s possible they’re still on the base.

“Sometimes eagles will move from one tree to another, and then they come back the next year,” he said.

The base got its first documented bald eagle nest in 1984, and a second nest was found in 1996. In 2000, the third pair built the nest near Lunga that now appears to be empty.

Bald eagles live 30 to 35 years in the wild, so they can occupy a nest for an extended period.

Their construction is not difficult to spot. “An eagle nest is just a huge mass of sticks in the fork of a tree,” Stamps said, adding that they can weigh up to 1,000 pounds.

One of the three active nests is on the southern shore of Chopawamsic Creek, in Officer Candidates School Training Area 3, and another is on Quantico Creek near the Geiger Ridge neighborhood. The third is not far from the Single Marine Program House on Neville Road.

In addition to a nearby food source, Stamps said, bald eagles like to nest in tall trees in continuous, mature forest. All this makes the main side of the base, as well as neighboring areas, inviting locations. “I’d say the food supply and habitat are really of high quality,” he said.

The base makes some accommodations to nesting bald eagles, although Stamps said nests generally have not been in high-use areas. During the nesting season, which officially runs from Dec. 16 to June 1, activities are restricted within 200 meters of an occupied bald eagle nest. For Quantico, this means hunting is not allowed during that period at Blind 1, which is near the nest on the shore of Chopawamsic Creek.

How a nest is treated depends in part on who got there first, Stamps said. If eagles build a nest near an existing building, human activities continue more or less as normal. But if there’s a nest where the base wants to build something, construction must halt during the nesting season.

The Marine Corps Air Facility has nest maps so pilots can avoid flying within 1,000 feet of an active nest, and the facility also has a bird airstrike management plan, but Stamps said there still have been a few collisions with bald eagles in recent years.

People and bald eagles are likely to begin colliding in other ways as the big raptors’ numbers continue to grow.

Since the mid-1990s, Cooper said, the area’s resident bald eagle population has been doubling every seven years, a trend that continues today. Between Dahlgren and Washington, D.C., there is a nest every mile or so along Route 1, with more and more nests appearing on the edges of neighborhoods and runways, he said.

News
Quantico Marines to Appear in Thanksgiving Day Parade at 10:48 a.m.

QUANTICO, Va. — Marines from Quantico will appear Thursday in the 87th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The marching band members are spending time this week rehearsing.

More in a press release:

East Coast Marine Corps Composite Band kicking off the holiday season with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade:

This year the Marines will have the East Coast Marine Corps Composite Band kicking off the holiday season with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®. Each year, more than 3.5 million people in NYC and over 50 million people at home watch the Parade, which is why it’s so important that we show our support for our Marines bringing joy and excitement to Parade fans everywhere.

The East Coast Marine Corps Composite Band will be comprised of 80 instrumentalists from the Marine Corps’ three largest east coast installations; Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA, Camp Lejeune, NC and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC. The journey to the parade has been two years in the making. The Marine Corps won a spot in the Macy’s parade in the 2011 lottery and now the time for their performance has finally come.

While bands on the West coast combine to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade on an annual basis, this is one of the rare times an East Coast Marine Corps Composite Band has ever been put together. Their holiday road trip will begin on Sunday November 24th when the North Carolina based Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point Marines will make their way to Virginia. When they arrive they will tie in with the Quantico Marine Corps Band and begin rehearsals.

The day before Thanksgiving will mark the beginning of the second 300-mile leg of the trek to the heart of New York City. Then on Thanksgiving morning, the East Coast Marine Corps Composite Band will officially kick of this year’s holiday season by marching the 2 1/2 miles through downtown Manhattan with other bands that include the New York City Police Department Marching Band and the Macy’s Great American Marching Band.

This will be only the second time the Marines have marched at Macy’s. The Quantico Marine Corps Band made history when they marched in the parade for the first time in 2002. It will be a great show to watch and one that may not happen again for another decade.

The Marines’ projected air time for this year’s performance on NBC is 10:48 a.m.

The parade airs Thursday at 9 a.m. on WRC-TV Channel 4.  

News
Volunteers Need to Help Pack Ornaments for Wounded Marines

Submitted News

DALE CITY, Va. — For the fifth year-in-a-row the Semper Fi Fund will be sending out more than 10,700 holiday ornaments to Marines who have been wounded since the attacks of 9-11 and are Purple Heart recipients. To help with packing and shipping the ornaments, the Semper Fi Fund will be hosting its annual “Purple Heart Ornament Packing Party” at the VFW Post 1503 in Dale City.

The ornaments contain a rendering of the Purple Heart medal on the front and the Semper Fi Fund’s logo on the back, along with our mission statement of “Serving Those Who Preserve our Freedom.”

The event begins at 9 a.m. Sunday and concludes when all of the ornaments are packed.

More in a press release: 

ABOUT THE SEMPER FI FUND (SFF): The Semper Fi Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and its program America’s Fund, are set up to provide immediate financial assistance and lifetime support for injured and critically ill members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. We direct urgently needed resources to post 9/11 service members, who meet our criteria for assistance, from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Reserves.

WHO WE ARE: The Semper Fi Fund was created by a group of Marine Corps spouses nine years ago, and those same women run the Fund today alongside other spouses from all services branches, retired service members, all of whom intimately know the needs of our military families. We have been by our injured and ill service member’s side from day one, helping them as they navigate lengthy recoveries and rejoin their communities.

HOW WE HELP: Financial support for our injured/ill service members and their families through the following programs: Family Support, Adaptive Housing, Adaptive Transportation, Specialized Equipment, Education and Career Transitioning, Rehabilitative Sports programs, and more.

WHO WE HELP: Post 9/11 service members with amputations, spinal cord injuries, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post Traumatic Stress(PTS), burns, blindness, other physical injuries, or those suffering from life-threatening illnesses. We also help immediate family members of our active duty, spouse or child, who face life threatening illness or injury.

HOW WE ARE UNIQUE: The Semper Fi Fund has been awarded the highest ratings from Watch Dog groups: A+ from Charity Watch for the second year, and we are one of only two veteran nonprofits to receive this rating the last two reports; 4 stars from Charity Navigator for five consecutive years. We maintain an extremely low overhead – 6%, rapid assistance with no red tape.

HOW WE RAISE FUNDING: The Semper Fi Fund relies completely on donations from generous individuals, corporations, foundations, and community groups. We do not receive government funding or use direct mail campaigns in an effort to keep our overhead low. Our communities across the country host fundraising and awareness events for our mission, both big and small: golf tournaments, motorcycle poker runs, 5/10K races, dinners, and contests – whatever their passion may be! We are members of the Combined Federal Campaign, through which federal, civilian, postal, and military donors can support us. We encourage all citizens across America to join us in our quest to support our military members who have sacrificed so much in the service to our country.

OUR PHILOSOPHY: The basic ideal that drives our efforts is simple: for as much as our heroes have sacrificed, they deserve the best care and support available in their hour of need. We are committed to being there at the time of injury or illness and for a lifetime if needed.

Since establishing the Semper Fi Fund in 2004, we’ve issued more than 65,000 grants, totaling more than $82 million in assistance to over 10,800 of our heroes and their families. We have been by their side from day one, and our service members and their families will continue to need our help as they navigate lengthy recoveries and rejoin their communities.

LOOKING FORWARD: The Semper Fi Fund has been successful over the years thanks to our loyal supporters, both individuals and corporations. Yet our challenges continue to intensify due to the level of severity of injury, illness, and post-traumatic stress unique to the length of war on terrorism. These critical injuries –– are brought home, and often call for a lifetime of assistance.

Tax-deductible contributions from people like you make up our lifeblood; whether donations are large or small, a one-time gift or ongoing endowment, every individual or corporation has the power to make a real difference, here and now, no matter where they are in the world.

The Semper Fi Fund is forever grateful to each of our supporters who share in our ongoing mission. Please help us help those who have given so much in the name of freedom.

News
Base Officials Warn of Brazen Computer Hack Scheme

QUANTICO, Va. — Officials at Quantico report someone may be trying to get unauthorized access to the Navy’s secured internet service, or NMCI.

In a statement, base officials said some users have received a phone call from the would-be hackers warning them that their computers could crash, that remote access to their machines will be required to stave off any problems.

More in a press release:

There have been reports of Navy NMCI users receiving a telephone call purporting to be from a member of an HP/NMCI Windows 7 support team. The caller typically says that problems such as event viewer errors have been detected on your NMCI workstation that will cause it to crash. The individual will direct you to a web link ask you to allow remote access to your computer inorder to fix the problems.

This is NOT a legitimate call, it is an attempt to gain unauthorized access to NMCI resources via a technique commonly referred to as social engineering. When successfully utilized social engineering is a very effective technique for hackers since it allows them to bypass multiple layers of security and gain direct internal access to a computer network using the credentials of a legitimate user.

If you receive a call similar to the one describe above:

1) Do not go to the web link or allow remote access to your NMCI seat.

2) Hang up the phone, do not attempt to engage the caller in conversation or

provide any information about yourself, your NMCI seat, your job, etc.

3) Report the incident to the Information Assurance Officer (ISMO) at MCWLISMO@usmc.mil and provide any information you can remember about the call.

 

News
NCIS Investigates Shooting Death at Quantico

QUANTICO, Va. — A Marine was found dead at Quantico and investigators don’t know yet how he died.

Authorities found Cpl. Daniel B. Vilevac was found dead from an apparent gunshot wound while inside his home Sunday night. Vilevac lived in on-base housing at Quantico, and he was pronounced dead there.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is now looking into the death and have not named any suspects, or have the determined if Vilevac’s death was by his own hand.

More in a press release:

Vilevac, a native of Cuyahoga, Ohio, a rifleman assigned to Charlie Company, The Basic School, where he was an enlisted instructor-advisor. While at TBS, Vilevac was responsible for training newly commissioned second lieutenants.

He joined the Marine Corps in August 2008, and was promoted to corporal in January 2012. His awards include the Good Conduct Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, NATO/International Security Assistance Force Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Afghan Campaign Medal, and the National Defense Medal.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Cpl. Vilevac’s family, fellow Marines and friends following this tragic incident,” said Col. Todd S. Desgrosseilliers, commanding officer of TBS. “Supporting and taking care of those affected by this loss is our top priority at this time.”

 

News
Heightened Security in Place at Quantico after Navy Yard Shooting

QUANTICO, Va. — Heightened security measures are in place at Quantico tonight following a mass shooting in Washington.

Thirteen people were shot and killed this morning at the Washington Navy Yard in the Nation’s Capital most deadliest day since the Air Florida crash in 1982.

The gunman, identified by police as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, of Fort Worth, Texas, is one of the victims, according to police.

All this prompted an increase in security at Quantico tonight.

More in a press release:

Due to the ongoing incident at the US Navy Yard in Washington, DC, Marine Corps Base Quantico has implemented heightened security measures as a precaution which may slow traffic accessing the MCBQ. All personnel should be reminded to immediately report any suspicious activity to (703) 432-EYES (3937) or usmceagleyes.org.

In addition to Marines and the home for the Corps’ Officers Candidate Training School, Quantico is home of the FBI Academy and houses a primary training ground for the DEA.

News
Marines Can Leave for Careers, Degrees & Return to Service

QUANTICO, Va. — The Marine Corps has announced a pilot program that allows certain career Marines to temporarily leave active duty while retaining their grade, time in grade and full health benefits.

The Navy has had a Career Intermission Pilot Program since 2009, and Marine Corps Administrative Message 418/13, signed Aug. 23, 2013, announced that the Corps is opening up a similar program through 2015.

“The long-term intent of this program is to provide greater flexibility in career paths of Marines in order to retain valuable experience and training of Marines who might otherwise permanently separate,” the MARADMIN states.

Under the program, up to 20 enlisted Marines and 20 officers could be approved each year from 2013 to 2015 to go into the Individual Ready Reserve for periods of up to three years. A stated requirement that Marines apply for the program between six and nine months ahead of time, though, may make it unlikely that anyone will go on hiatus in 2013.

While on intermission, Marines will retain their full benefits and also receive a stipend of one-15th of their base pay.

Those who avail themselves of the program will be required to return to the service at the end of their inactive duty and serve at least two months for each month they were away.

“It’s going to take some planning and serious consideration to apply for this program,” said Gunnery Sgt. Bryant Lodge Jr., assistant operations chief of enlisted retention at the Manpower Management Enlisted Assignments Branch of Manpower and Reserve Affairs. “I don’t think it’s a quick, easy decision.”

He said a Marine who wants to finish a degree or gain professional experience to bring back to the Marine Corps might consider using the program.

Cmdr. Angela Katsen, who, as head of the Navy Office of Diversity and Inclusion, managed the Navy’s CIPP from July of 2011 to July of 2013, said the most common reasons sailors have used the program have been related to family, travel and, especially, education. She said the program has gained popularity, both among sailors asking to use it and senior personnel suggesting it as a retention tool, but is still used at only about half its capacity.

“We’re allowed to have 20 officers and 20 enlisted each year, but we’ve never maxed out at that amount,” Katsen said.

She said the program is used about equally by officers and enlisted sailors, as well as by men and women.

The Navy renewed its career intermission program in 2012, still as a pilot because not enough sailors have returned from their intermissions for officials to analyze the impact on promotions and other factors, Katsen said. Only about half a dozen have taken their break and returned to active duty, but one officer was promoted shortly thereafter, in a “seamless transition,” she said.

“Four years into it, it’s already been a very positive experience.”

However, the program is not for everyone.

No Marine can participate in the Corps’ CIPP before serving the first term of service, and on the enlisted side, it’s only open to grades E6 and E7. Marines are not eligible if they can’t complete the ensuing obligation due to service limitations, mandatory retirements or enlisted career force controls.

“The program targets mid-level officer and enlisted (E-6/E-7 and O-3/O-4), as these are often the ranks that are making personal decisions regarding staying in the Marine Corps until retirement or separating to pursue personal or professional goals,” said a written statement from Manpower and Reserve Affairs officials.

Enlisted Marines in a training pipeline and officers who have not been career designated are ineligible, as are Marines under investigation or with records of disciplinary action in the previous two years, or who are indebted to the government. Aviation officers with more than a year of active duty service obligation or aviation retention pay cannot apply, and neither can Marines currently receiving a critical skills retention bonus or fulfilling obligated service as a result of a bonus. Marines may, however, opt to receive the first installment of their bonus after completing their intermission.

For those who are approved for an intermission, an allowance will be paid for travel to and from one residence.

After the hiatus, if a Marine can’t return to active duty due to physical or security clearance requirements or other eligibility issues, the Navy can recoup the value of whatever benefits that Marine received while in the Individual Ready Reserve.

The need to stay fit is one reason that, although Marines in the IRR are not required to participate in monthly drills, Lodge recommended they do so. He also noted that attending monthly drills is a way to keep abreast of Marine Corps practices. “That way, you’re not that far behind when you go back in,” he said.

Lodge said he didn’t think the obligation to lengthen terms of service would deter most career Marines, but he said any intermission should be carefully considered and used wisely.

“You need a mature Marine who knows what they’re doing, who knows their future intentions and aspirations,” he said.

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