Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Officer in Charge of Construction (OICC) China Lake Hosts Groundbreaking Ceremony for Largest Earthquake Recovery Construction Project

11 March 2021
CHINA LAKE – A groundbreaking ceremony was held March 9 at the South Airfield on Naval Air Weapons (NAWS) China Lake marking the start of the largest Military Construction (MILCON) project, out of the $2.3B Earthquake Recovery Program. The South Airfield is a consortium of six projects that will deliver new and improved facilities to develop and test current and future warfighting capabilities.
CHINA LAKE – A groundbreaking ceremony was held March 9 at the South Airfield on Naval Air Weapons (NAWS) China Lake marking the start of the largest Military Construction (MILCON) project, out of the $2.3B Earthquake Recovery Program. The South Airfield is a consortium of six projects that will deliver new and improved facilities to develop and test current and future warfighting capabilities.

“Inside the OICC, we call the South Airfield construction effort the Super Bowl of the earthquake recovery program. The groundbreaking today kicks off the largest single construction contract in the earthquake recovery program season encompassing a footprint of over 190 acres, that’s roughly 144 football fields,” said Officer in Charge of Construction (OICC) China Lake Commanding Officer (CO) CAPT Laurie Scott. “The dedication and commitment by local, regional and state leaders, combined with Navy stakeholders across echelons, allowed us to get to this critical milestone in record time.”

The construction of the state-of-the-art South Airfield will restore the capabilities of Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) to execute the Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) mission. The new modern air traffic control tower, an integrated fire/rescue station, aircraft hangers, laboratory space and an expanded aircraft apron will ensure reliable and safe air and ground field operations in support of our warfighters.

OICC China Lake Executive Officer CDR Timothy Kaber, who served as the master of ceremonies, initiated the ceremony with some welcoming remarks in combination with an F/A-18 flyover. NAWS China Lake Base Chaplain LT Michael Taulbee delivered the invocation. Guest speakers were NAWCWD Commander RDML Scott Dillon, NAWS China Lake CO CAPT Jeremy Vaughan, President and CEO of Environmental Chemical Corporation (ECC) Manjiv Vohra, with closing remarks by OICC China Lake CO CAPT Laurie Scott.

RADM Dillion said, “When this project is complete the entire organization (NAWCWD) will be stronger as result. It is an important centerpiece to all the different types of developmental works that happen here at NAWCWD for many years to come.”

CAPT Vaughan said, “The nation needed China Lake then to support the warfighter and the nation needs us now. The investment in this installation shows how much our Navy, and our nation depends on this base for the future. It further solidifies the Navy’s commitment to the incredibly important research testing and development work that will be done here.”

Mr. Manjiv Vohra said, “During the execution of this project, we will live ECC’s core values: Safety, People, Service, Prosperity and Friendship. Let’s do this project in the best possible way that we can, and along the way, let’s not just build the buildings in the contract. Let’s also build bridges, bridges with the Navy clients, bridges with the local community, and bridges with the future users of the infrastructure that we’re building here.”

Participants in this momentous ground breaking included RDML Scott Dillon, CAPT Laurie Scott, CAPT Jeremy Vaughan, Mr. Majiv Vohra, and Ridgecrest City Council Representative Mr. Solomon Rajaratnam.

NAWS China Lake is located in the Western Mojave Desert region of California, approximately 150 miles north of Los Angeles. China Lake’s mission is to support the Navy's RDT&E missions to provide cutting-edge weapons systems to the warfighter. The installation is the Navy's largest single landholding. In total, its two ranges and main site cover more than 1.1 million acres, an area larger than the state of Rhode Island.

OICC China Lake was established in August 2020 to provide engineering, acquisition, and execution oversight for military construction and repair projects caused by the devastating damage from the 6.4 and 7.1 magnitude earthquakes that occurred on July 4 and 5, 2019.
 
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