By Jeffrey C. Doepp, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic Public Affairs
NORFOLK (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Mid-Atlantic deployed a Contingency Engineering Response Team (CERT) to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina, Sept. 17-21, to conduct damage assessments after Hurricane Florence struck the area just days before.
The five-member team was made up of two naval officers and three civilian employees ranged from structural and architectural engineers to skilled and experienced construction managers and engineer technicians.
From its massive four-point runway system to its system of ranges and auxiliary landing fields, the air station and its associated support locations occupy approximately 29,000 acres. More than 53,000 people make up the total Cherry Point-related population, including active duty and retired Marines, Sailors, the civilian workforce, and their families, according to the MCAS Cherry Point website.
Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina Sept. 17, as a Category 1 storm, pounding the state with heavy wind and rain. The team’s only access to the air station was by military aircraft, due to major flooding of all highways in the area.
The all-volunteer CERT –Lt. Cmdr. David Sare, Lt. j.g. Tyson Barnhart, John Wells, Boris Shilman, and Brett Stodden– went to work immediately upon landing with power restoration, clearing, and roof assessments as the top priority.
“We began initial, immediate assessments of critical facilities and infrastructure right after we arrived,” said Sare, the team lead. “Recognizing that even with the stress and strain of the PWD (Public Works Department), they were able to help prioritize these facilities requirement inspections to help ensure the installation gets back to fully mission capable.”
The CERT was mobilized to provide support to Facility Engineering Acquisition Division (FEAD) Cherry Point in damage assessment and scope writing. The FEAD manages construction projects from inception to completion on the installation. They provide government estimates, scope creation, and project design services for the installation and its tenants.
“Due to the severity of the storm, many of our local DATs (Damage Assessment Teams) were displaced and unable to respond,” said NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic Production Officer and Disaster Preparedness Officer Lt. Mallory Corey. “The intent of the region CERT is to provide out-of-area assistance so the assessment and initial repairs can get underway as soon as possible.”
With a tiger team on the ground sitting out the storm in Cherry Point, the CERT was able to provide bolstered support to them as soon as the storm cleared.
“With CERT assistance, the FEAD was able to do assessments on all priority buildings and draft general scopes needed to support the GCC in the initial week of storm response,” Corey added.
NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic provides facilities engineering, public works and environmental products and services across an area of responsibility that spans from Georgia to Maine and as far west as Indiana. As an integral member of the Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic team, NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic provides leadership through the Regional Engineer organization to ensure the region's facilities and infrastructure are managed efficiently and effectively.