News: N.C. Marines land at JB MDL, launch recovery efforts into NYC
Story by Airman Sean Crowe
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - Marines from the 8th Engineer Support Battalion, Camp Lejeune, N.C., were on the road most of the day to arrive here by 8 p.m. Nov. 3, 2012.
After their recent return from a deployment in Afghanistan, more than 80 U.S. Marines made the journey North to forward employ recovery operations in response to the Hurricane Sandy’s devastation.
“We’re sending Marines to help out with anything they can in New York and New Jersey because of the hurricane that just passed through,” said Marine Corps Cpl. Mario Ibarra, Heavy Marine Helicopter Squadron 366 avionics technician for Marine Corps CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters.
The unit deployed its first element by 4 a.m. Oct. 4 to Queens, N.Y., where they went to work pumping water from flooded homes. The remaining Marines kept busy preparing further provisions to be sent out with later groups.
“In North Carolina, we always get hit with hurricanes, we know the feeling,” said Marine Corps Master Sgt. Timothy Shriver, 8th ESB maintenance officer. “It’s time for us to help somebody else.”
Several convoys delivered manpower, equipment and other supplies to the Queens area throughout the day for more support.
“(We’re) here to help pump the water out of apartments, subways and streets, so people can get back to their homes and return to normality,” said Marine Corps Cpl. Chelsea Thomas, an 8th ESB radio operator.
The Marines are slated to spend at least 30 days in the region where they will provide water-pumping support and any other operation they are tasked with.
The disaster literally hits home for Thomas, who is originally from Cape May Country, N.J.
“I’m more than happy to come and help out any way I can,” she said. “My sister is in Wildwood and unfortunately she stayed there. Luckily there was no harm to her, my nephews, my niece or my family; they were all pretty safe and sound, though everyone was evacuated.”
Shriver said the JB MDL team was more than helpful to him and his Marines, stating several base members worked nearly 24 hours to assist in his unit’s arrival.
“Since we’ve arrived, (the base has) been nothing but helpful to us. Everything they’ve done has helped support this and our mission,” he said.
Marine Corps Col. Robert Tobin, Marine Aircraft Group 49 commander, expressed his gratitude to the visiting Marines and extended his hand to continue assisting them in any way possible.