Camp Lejeune is a Marine Corps training base. This training facility is located conveniently between two deep sea ports, Morehead City and Wilmington, which makes it the perfect location for quick deployments. The base was constructed in 1941 and is supplemented by Marine Corps Air Station New River, Courthouse Bay, Camp Johnson, Stone Bay, Camp Geiger and the Greater Sandy Run Training Area, which are additional training facilities. Over 43,000 Marines and Sailors from all over the world call this base home.
Named after Braxton Bragg, a Confederate general, Fort Bragg was built in 1918. It now includes an area known as Pope Field, which was originally a separate Air Force Base known as Pope Air Force Base; Pope Field is still used by the USAF, but it is now under the control of the US Army.
Fort Bragg extends over 251 square miles and covers parts of Cumberland, Hoke, Moore and Harnett counties. Although it is primarily located in Fayetteville, North Carolina, it actually also takes up a part of the town of Spring Lake.
Known as one of the best all-weather jet bases in the world, Cherry Point’s extended runway system is even used as an emergency landing site for the shuttles that launch out of Cape Canaveral, Florida. MCAS Cherry Point is located close to Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps installation that is situated in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
MCAS New River started as a small training area and has grown into a major fully functional airfield. Approximately 7,500 active duty service members and 1,750 family members call it home.
The two major units at MCAS New River are Marine Aircraft Group 26 and Marine Aircraft Group 29. The Marine Wing Support Squadron 272, 362nd Training Squadron, Marine Air Control Squadron 2, Detachment B and the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training are also important units.
The base is named after Lieutenant Seymour Johnson who was a naval aviator, a Goldsboro resident and a hero. The base was deactivated in the 1940’s, but was reactivated again in the 1950’s and has operated since then. The base has a long time affiliation with the 4th Fighter Wing.
The 4th Fighter Wing is the main unit on the base and their mission is carried out by using F-15 Strike Eagle aircraft. The 4th Fighter Wing is both a training unit and is capable of deployment. The Seymour Johnson 916th Air Refueling Wing is home to ten KC-135 aircraft.
North Carolina has a lower cost of living than many states, which allows a family to stretch its military paycheck further. Overall, North Carolina is a state where transients and natives mix, and no place more so than in our military base communities. Schools can vary from district to district so check yours in advance.
Housing costs are lower overall and the mild climate makes mobile home living possible. Rental housing of many kinds is available in any of the base communities. Whether a given housing complex or landlord will allow pets is a matter to be confirmed through your rental agent.
A 2 percent tax on food at the supermarket makes shopping at the commissary smart except when local fruits and vegetables are in season at farm stands. Expect to see the first strawberries sometime in April, peaches in June or early July, mountain-grown apples in September, and local greens through early winter.
North Carolina is also a state where people value community activities. There are local festivals, small towns with interesting histories, and weather that allows you to enjoy the outdoors almost all year. Camp LeJeune is practically at the coast, but as locals travel, all of the bases are easy rides to the beach.
Of the base communities, all are located in parts of the state where economic growth has been stagnant in recent years. Employment options are likely to be similar to what have been experienced in other base communities. Professional spouses have been known to commute significant distances to work: WTVD-11 evening anchor Tisha Powell is an Air Force spouse who commutes more than 80 miles one-way to work in Durham.