NEW ORLEANS, LA, UNITED STATES
NEW ORLEANS – Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North’s new 411,320 square-foot home on the west bank of the Mississippi River officially dedicated during a ribbon cutting ceremony here June 27.
State and local officials were on hand to commemorate the event.
"This [Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans] now is the anchor...and hub, for the U.S. Marine Reserves in the nation and the area," stated New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
The new compound, dubbed as the Corps’ first Marine Corps Support Facility, will house the headquarters of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North.
“This will make 21st century leadership for Marine Forces Reserve a reality,” said Maj. Gen. Darrell Moore, commander of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North, and director, Reserve Affairs Quantico. “Our Marines today deserve a world class facility and they have it. I promise we will put this facility to its best use.”
Marine Forces Reserve is the largest command in the Marine Corps with some 183 training centers located in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Marine Forces Reserve organizes, mans, equips, trains, and sustains more than 40,000 drilling Reserve Marines and some 60,000 Individual Ready Reserve Marines, who support Theater Security Cooperation Exercises and Overseas Contingency Operation requirements worldwide, as well as provide support to the communities of the United States.
Marine Forces North on the other hand, implements anti-terrorism and force protection measures in order to conduct homeland defense operations and provide defense support to civil authorities.
Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North’s new headquarters, MarCorSptFac New Orleans, will also be the work place of approximately 1,000 service members, 300 Department of Defense civilians and 600 drilling reservists
The move of the headquarters from the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans on the Mississippi River’s east bank to Algiers on the west bank resulted from the Base Realignment and Closure of 2005.
Initially, the BRAC commission recommended the closure of the previous MarForRes headquarters at Naval Support Activity New Orleans on the east bank. Marines had worked out of the aging World War I-era east bank facility since the 1960s.
Realizing the impact and benefits of having the Marine Reserve headquarters here, elected officials proposed the idea of “Federal City” to the BRAC commission. In a letter that then governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco wrote to the BRAC commission chairman, Federal City was to be a “new, state of the art complex” and a campus of government and corporate offices at the site of Naval Support Activity New Orleans on the west bank, with the Marines as the anchor tenants.
The city was to fund the Marine’s $110 million compound at Federal City, a move that was projected to save the DoD more than $230 million according to Blanco’s letter, and keep jobs and the military cash flow circulating in New Orleans.
With the plan to keep the Marines in the city approved, Marines went to work bringing their new home to life. Marine Forces Reserve Facilities section had to determine the building requirements such as room spaces, security and parking accommodations. The Marines and the city agreed on a 29 acre compound at Federal City, the now MarCorSptFac New Orleans. The deal was for the Marines to control everything inside of their fenced-off and gate-accessed secure compound, but still have rights to utilize the planned establishments of Federal City.
“This was part of the agreement so we could provide the Marines with all the other services we had in our old building,” said Ed Maguire, deputy of the MarForRes Facilities section.
The city’s plans for Federal City include a host of restaurants, a child development center, a recreational facility, banks and other vendors, all of which the Marines will be able to access.
Eighteen months after construction began, the main building was complete and ready for the Marines to occupy. The Algiers Development District signed over the building the Department of the Navy late last month.
On June 6, the Marines began relocating into their new home across the river, moving anywhere from 40 to sometimes more than 100 personnel a day. The relocation also meant transferring equipment and weapons and moving supplies from their warehouses to the new MarCorSptFac. By June 22, the Marines were on the west bank with a tiny element staying in the Bywater headquarters to clean up.
Their new access-controlled and hurricane-protected building features a mass notification system, consolidated protection of classified materials, centralized building monitoring system and a backup generator among many other advancements.
“It’s presidential,” remarked Lance Cpl. Rodney Henry, a security clerk at MarForRes and a Richmond, Va., native, about the new building. “It’s clean, it smells good and it’s really nice. I like it.”
The four story main building is named after Lt. Col. Joseph J. McCarthy (1911-1996), a recipient of the nation’s highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions on the island of Iwo Jima during World War II.
The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved naming the Marine Reserve headquarters building at MarCorSptFac New Orleans at Federal City in honor of Lieutenant Colonel Joseph J. McCarthy as part of the Marine Corps commemorative naming program, which pays tribute to distinguished and heroic deceased Marines.
On Aug. 1, the Marines will turn over their old headquarters facility to the Navy BRAC commission who will in turn transfer it over to the city of New Orleans.
In order to transfer an intact building to the city, the Marines will remove all trash and distribute any leftover useful items to units throughout the Corps. There are no finalized plans for the Bywater compound; however, several groups have shown interest in it.
The retention of Marines in the city of New Orleans continues the Corps’ presence in the city, which it has had since the first company of Marines arrived here in 1778.
||NEW ORLEANS, LA, US
This work, Marines move into new home in New Orleans, by Sgt Zaid Dannsa, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.