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Modern Day Marine is Largest Marine Corps Expo

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Hundreds of companies featured at Modern Day Marine

 

Modern Day Marine is called the premier expo for all things military.

Held Sept. 23 through 25 this year, the event showcases arms, equipment, drones, clothing and gadgets that the Marine Corps will use in war fighting both here and overseas.

There are hundreds of exhibitors that come to the Modern Day Marine event. Exhibitors like the Solarwinds company monitors the security of networks and is able to identify communication problems that may be uncounted by war fighters in the field. Samsung, developer of everything from TVs to cell phones, is also listed as an exhibitor at Modern Day Marine as it looks integrate more, smaller technology like computer hardware, into the hands of the nation’s military.

While the Modern Day Marine expos on full display at Quantico each year, there are also two other Modern Day Marine expos in the U.S. Marine West is held at Camp Pendleton in California and Marine South is held at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Potomac Local went to this year’s Modern Day Marine at Quantico and snapped these photos and put them into a slide show.

News
Quantico Hosting Blockade Run Kayak and SUP Races

QUANTICO, Va. — The Town of Quantico is pleased to partner with the Ft. Belvior/Quantico Chapter of Team River Runner and the American Canoe Association (ACA) in hosting the 2nd Annual Blockade Run Kayak and SUP Races on Saturday Sept. 20, from 3 to 7 p.m. 

This event will include the following races: 1K kayak race, 1K kayak 4-person team relay race, 1K SUP race, 1K SUP 4-person team relay, 250M Kids kayak race and 250M Kids SUP race. An awards ceremony will follow the races.

All equipment will be provided and is included in the registration fee. The registration fee for this event is $20 for adults, kids race for free. Same day registration will be available on race day. This event is open to the public.

Children eight years old and over are welcome to participate but must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. This event will be held at Raftelis Potomac River Park 408 River Road in Quantico. Team River Runner (TRR), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, gives active duty service-members and veterans an opportunity to find health, healing, and new challenges through whitewater boating and other paddling sports. Participants/individuals wishing to learn more about the mission of Team River Runner are encouraged to visit www.teamriverrunner.org. 

To register, please contact Mayor Kevin Brown at cell/text (571) 334-3432 or mayor@townofquantico.org. Find out more about this and other town events by visiting www.townofquantico.org or by searching for “Town of Quantico” on Facebook.

News
Future of Quantico Farmers Market in Doubt

QUANTICO, Va — Last Thursday marked the end of season and possibly the run of the farmers’ market at Quantico.

When the program launched last year, it was funded as a part of the Healthy Base Initiative pilot program. With funding cut for next season, Elizabeth Borst, Quantico Farmers’ Market Manager,said they are working on alternative resources to keep the market afloat. On average, 500 people visited the market each week. It’s a hopeful number but Borst admits that numbers need to double to remain viable.

One of the biggest challenges for the market is the transient nature of a military lifestyle.

“We would build our customer base and then they would all move away and then we’d have to start again,” Borst said. “Our lesson learned with that is we should get out in front of PCS season, and let Marines know about the farmers’ market as soon as they know of their active duty station.”

Borst who also manages the Spotsylvania Farmers’ Market, advocates the importance of fresh, local and affordable foods on base. This year, the market partnered with Semper Fit, the Marine Corps Exchange, the Commissary and other base organizations to advocate the importance of a healthy diet.

“It’s been about trying to expose military families to fresh food right in their community so that’s it’s easy for them to eat healthy,” Borst said.”We had a stronger season this year, than last. We hope to grow more each season but it takes time to change peoples’ eating habits and behaviors.”

Thanks to the help of Lauren King, dietitian at Semper Fit, people were able to get information and advice on food education and preparation. King attended the market bi-weekly as the “Vegucation Station” expert, offering materials that were provided by the Virginia Cooperative Extension. Each week  King offered counseling and take-home material with preparation instructions and recipes based on in-season produce.

“We have found in the military community that these farmers markets look nice and pretty and Marines [their families and civilians] want to buy produce but they’re not really sure what to do with it once they bring it home,” King said.

In addition to food education, the market also invited a variety of food trucks each week. They also changed start times this season from 2 p.m. to 10 a.m., to accommodate work schedules. But regardless of the time switch, Lucia Anderson, a Marine spouse and an avid farmers’ market participate, said the base hours have always been much better than farmer’s market out in town, which usually are on Sundays and overcrowded, she said.

“I’m really delighted that they have a farmers’ market here for military families,” said Anderson, a Woodbridge resident. “The farmers’ market in Dale City near my home is only open on Sundays during church hours. The market here is very convenient because you can get you produce and then your groceries at the commissary.”

The future of the market is up in the air, but King and Borst said they remain hopeful. They also encourage families, civilians and military members who want to see the market back, voice their opinion and support.

News
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.

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.

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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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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
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
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.

News
‘Tank Farm’ Stirs Interest, Raises Funds for Wartime Museum

NOKESVILLE, Va. — For the paratroopers of the 101st Airborne, life during World War II wasn’t easy.

For starters, each American paratrooper in the division weighed about 150 pounds, but the amount of equipment they needed to carry with them on their jumps doubled their weight even before time they climbed onto the airplane.

The equipment: guns, grenades, even a bazooka that used a dangerous electrical charge to fire its ordinance, it was a dangerous load to bear.

“When you fired this weapon with its electrical charge, it has a tendency to make the warhead blow up,” said re-enactor Robert Hubbs of Stafford.

Hubbs and many other re-enactors and living historians took questions Saturday from those who wanted to know more about what life in war is like.

They came to the Tank Farm in Nokesville, and annual demonstration featuring tanks, military trucks, guns, and several other working artifacts that will make up the Americans in Wartime Museum slated to be built behind a Kmart store in Dale City.

The annual event is designed to showcase the belongings of the museum, as well demonstrate the hardware’s military might.

There were also live shows on Saturday displaying the talents of military working dogs from Fort Belvoir, as well as simulated gunfire, and a flamethrower, which showed first hand the horrors of warfighting, in addition to the re-enactors and living historians.

The event also serves as an opportunity to raise funds of the museum to fund construction of the planned facility on a 70-acre site along Interstate 95 in Dale City.

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[Photo: Mary Davidson / Potomac Local News]

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