North Carolina Economic Development Guide


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Page 39 of 87

Case studies Elizabeth City Air Station RALEIGH Seymour Johnson Air Force base CHARLOTTE Fort Bragg Army base Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station Camp Lejeune Marine Base Coast Guard station Major military base Major military installments in North Carolina New River Marine Corps Air Station Sunny Point Army Military Ocean Terminal Oak Island related units from Georgia and elsewhere. The moves are a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act and during the next four years will bring about 40,000 military members, families, civilian employees and businesses that cater to the military. The impact spills off base, too, into surrounding counties where civilian developers are carving out middle-income subdivisions such as Harnett County's Richmond Park, where homes cost $250,000 and up. At Seymour Johnson, the numbers aren't as large but are substantial nonethe- less. Home to some of the nation's most advanced fighter jets, F-15E Strike Eagles and air-refueling tankers, the base regularly rotates pilots and planes to Iraq, Afghani- stan and other war zones. It has a base workforce of more than 8,000, with about 7,000 of those military personnel. Last year, construction amounted to about $40 million for family housing and other needs. Meanwhile, Dorney and others say military and defense contracts are dispersed to civilian enterprises throughout the state. Total federal contracts amounted to $5.4 billion in 2010, with about $3.6 billion for military items. "Any time you start using the 'b' word, that's money," he says. "We have military contractors in 87 of the state's 100 counties, and federal contractors — not just military — in 97 counties." For example, McRae Industries Inc. in Mount 38 North Carolina Economic Development Guide Gilead generated more than $62 million in sales last year. The company makes desert boots worn by soldiers and Marines. But the state's relationship with the military hasn't always been so amicable. Though bases such as Fort Bragg, estab- lished as Camp Bragg in 1918, and Camp Lejeune, opened in 1941, flourished during World War II, the unpopular Vietnam War and the relatively peaceful years that followed eroded public sentiment toward the military. Base expansions were some- times opposed by local governments and given the cold shoulder by the state. Nicholson was in the Marines 28 years, including stints at Camp Lejeune in the '80s and '90s as an artillery officer. "Maybe it was a maturity matter with me, but when I was a young captain at Lejeune, at times I felt there was friction between the base and the town. Now, I'm amazed when I go to local communities to see the interaction between the military and civilians. It's incredible to see the bonds. When I was at Fort Bragg recently, I saw Col. Stephen Sicinski, the garrison commander, when he needed something just pick up the phone and call the mayor of Fayetteville and ask him." Economist Kleckley sees the same change. "I grew up in Columbia, S.C., near Fort Jackson, in the mid-'80s, and I certainly remember the negative connota- tions the military had. We're seeing military Fort Macon Swansboro Wrightsville Beach Ocracoke Cape Hatteras Hobucken Oregon Inlet

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