Government shutdown closes many base facilities in N.C.
The (Jacksonville, N.C.) Daily News
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — Military families are feeling the strain of closures aboard local bases after the federal government’s first shutdown in 17 years.
“I’m most concerned about the commissary. You get more for your money and it’s just easier to get my food there,” said Marine spouse Jennifer Duran, 21, of Hubert on Tuesday. “A lot of families that are on strict budgets are going to have to spend more money by going to other stores.”
While the commissary is scheduled to close today, other programs and services aboard local bases closed on Tuesday. The closures include base libraries, education centers, outdoor recreation offices, hobby shops, relocation assistance offices, professional development services and more. In addition to closed facilities, other programs such as the ID card center, traffic court, civilian human resources, the installation personnel administration center and more will be operating on reduced staff or shortened operating hours, according to Nat Fahy, the Marine Corps Installations East public affairs officer.
Services that will remain open aboard bases will include the Marine Corps Exchange, child development centers, base schools, fitness centers, counseling offices and more. Any functions pertaining to safety, protection of human life and protection of national security are exempt from furlough, such as police, fire, EMS, training ranges, chow halls and more, according to Fahy.
As a mother, Duran said she is extremely concerned that the approval of a federal budget will not come quickly, adding not only to her stress level but also to the possibility of losing pay and allowance or access to more facilities.
“My husband is getting out (of the military) so I’m not too concerned about his training being affected but it’s definitely a possibility for other people and they should be concerned,” Duran said. “As far as what may affect my husband and I, I’m not sure if transitional classes are going to be affected. They help you make yourself more marketable for the civilian world. It’s just one more thing we need to worry about.”
Tuesday, the National Mall in Washington D.C. closed to thoroughfare due to the government's shutdown but Fahy said that there is no plan in place to close or limit people from visiting or utilizing the Lejeune Memorial Gardens which are home to memorials to the Beirut Bombing, the Vietnam War and the 9-11 memorial.
Medical facilities aboard installations will also be impacted. Emergency services, according to Bill Urban, Defense spokesman, will continue at all locations where they are currently provided but many elective medical procedures will potentially be delayed. Hospitals will not be completely excepted from furloughs, he said. All excepted employees will be paid retroactively once the lapse of appropriations ends and those who are considered non-excepted will be placed on emergency furlough and will only be paid if a law is enacted providing authority to pay them, Urban said Monday.
The Naval Hospital aboard Camp Lejeune is still operating at 100 percent but will reevaluate hospital operations as time goes on, Anna Hancock, deputy public affairs officer, said Tuesday. She noted staff members involved in direct patient care are excepted from furloughs.
“Our Emergency Department and Urgent Care will remain open, and for patients who have primary and specialty care appointments scheduled, their appointments will remain unchanged,” said Hancock.
Hancock said told The Daily News mental health treatment for Marines, sailors and their families will not be affected by the furloughs or the shutdown.
One huge relief, according to Duran, is Congress’ decision Monday to pay active-duty military regardless of a shutdown.
“It was nerve racking when we thought we weren’t going to get paid, especially when you have a child you have to feed,” Duran said. “From what I’ve heard we are going to get paid on the 15th so I’m not going to really worry about right now but the possibility of not getting paid is in the back of my mind.”
Closings aboard Lejuene
The following offices and services aboard Camp Lejeune will close in light of the government shutdown:
- DeCA Commissary (starting today)
- Education Center (to include Snack Bar)
- Transition Readiness Seminar Center
- Career Assistance
- School Age Care & Youth Pavilions
- Family Member Employment Assistance Program
- Marine Corps Family Team Building
- Resilience Education
- Drug Demand Reduction
- Single Marine Program and Recreation Centers (Snack Bars inside Courthouse Bay and Camp Johnson Recreation Centers will be open)
- Outdoor Recreation (to include Operation Adrenaline Rush)
- Hobby Shops (Auto, Auto Hobby, Wood)
- Sports Offices (Intramural, Varsity & Youth sports events will be canceled during the shutdown)
- Recreation Equipment Issue
- Community Centers
- Information Tickets and Tours
- Relocation Assistance / Information & Referral / Welcome Aboard
- Reception Center – Retired Services
- Reception Center – Navy Liaison
- Reception Center – MCCS Office
- Reception Center – Housing Office
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