Editor’s note: In a press conference Tuesday morning, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster lifted the mandatory evacuation for Beaufort, Jasper and Colleton counties. To read more, click here.
Beaufort County’s military bases are following the lead of S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster, who ordered a mandatory evacuation of the state’s coastal counties Monday afternoon as Hurricane Florence continues to churn over the Atlantic Ocean.
Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and Naval Hospital Beaufort will all evacuate beginning noon Tuesday, according to statements from those installations and posts on their Facebook pages.
The Corps will transport Parris Island recruits to Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany (Ga.), where they will continue to train through the duration of the evacuation.
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Trainees from 1st Recruit Training Battalion’s Charlie Company, who were supposed to graduate Friday, will have their ceremony early and then board “commercial transportation to begin well earned leave,” according to a statement by Parris Island commander Brig. Gen. James Glynn on the depot’s page.
“The ceremony will be filmed as promised (Sunday) and broadcasted on our command website and social media platforms so everyone has the opportunity to witness their Marine’s graduation,” the statement said.
The ceremony will take place at the Albany base, according Parris Island spokesperson Warrant Officer Bobby Yarbrough, but it will be a “closed” event — the only way to see the ceremony is to watch it on the depot’s webpage and social media accounts because the base will not be open to the public.
The depot announced Sunday that it had already canceled the week’s “Family Day” activities, and it was already discouraging friends and families of Charlie Company trainees from traveling to Parris Island.
“With at least two other storms lined up behind this one,” air station commander Col. Timothy P. Miller said, referring to Hurricanes Isaac and Helene, both farther out in the Atlantic Ocean, “I encourage everyone to continue all prudent preparation.”
Miller and Glynn suggested personnel, their families and others continue to monitor the depot’s and air station’s websites and social media accounts.
The evacuation orders at the three bases apply to all Department of Defense non-essential personnel.
Those personnel and their families will be authorized “funded travel” to a “safe haven site” between 100 to 400 miles away from Beaufort, Yarbrough said.
In all, some 7,000 recruits will be shipped to Albany, he said.
They will return to the depot after the storm passes, and after post-storm damage assessments conclude.
Here’s where to find Beaufort County Marine and military information:
Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island
Twitter: @MCRDPI (twitter.com/MCRDPI)
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort
Twitter: @MCASBeaufortSC (twitter.com/MCASBeaufortSC)
Naval Hospital Beaufort
Twitter: @NHB1949 (twitter.com/NHB1949)