YORK — In the face of Joint Forces Command closing down across Hampton Roads, Naval Weapons Station Yorktown will welcome aboard 800 Marines this summer with consolidation of the Marines Corps Security Force Regiment.
The decision was announced Tuesday by the U.S. Marines Corps Forces Command in Washington.
Yorktown beat out a command in Chesapeake and Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina.
“There was no real with problem Cherry Point or Chesapeake,” said Dennis Neal, deputy public affairs officer for U.S. Marines Corps Forces Command. “Yorktown possessed the best overall blend of qualities we needed to consolidate all of the operations of the Marine Corps Security Force Regiment and fast companies.”
The regiment provides anti-terrorism support around the world and can deploy rapidly. The regiment provided security and aid in Haiti following the earthquake last year.
“They do a lot of on-the-spot quick-reaction security work,” Neal added.
The consolidation will bring more than 800 Marines, sailors and civilians from Marines Corps Security Force Regiment headquarters at Naval Station Norfolk, and Alpha and Charlie Anti-terrorism Security Team Companies at Camp Allen in Norfolk.
Many of the Marines are thought to be young and single, so local officials think the impact on schools will be limited (see box).
The 800 will join 300 Marines in the Bravo, or 2nd, Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team already located at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown.
The move here will be done in phases and will include several new buildings. About 150 Marines from regimental headquarters are expected to relocate to nearby Cheatham Annex in June to help oversee the construction of the new buildings.
Assuming funding is granted by Congress, the first phase of construction would be finished in 2016 and the final phase by 2018.
Initial construction will include regimental headquarters, bachelor enlisted quarters, supply, motor transport and armory. Phases 2 and 3 will include operational buildings and bachelor quarters for Alpha and Charlie companies.
Mark Piggott, public affairs officer for Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, said that Yorktown is ready and willing. Naval Weapons Station Yorktown already has 38 command tenants.
“One of the reasons they picked us is that we had the real estate for this kind of growth,” Piggott said, noting that between Naval Weapons Station Yorktown and Cheatham Annex have 15,000 acres. “It’s definitely a plus in that area.”
Piggott that within the last year Yorktown has broken ground on new buildings for Navy Cargo Handling Battalion One and Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group. “We work very well with our tenants to meet their needs to help them complete their mission,” he said.
Rep. Rob Wittman (R-1st) along with York County staff and supervisors lobbied hard for Yorktown.
Wittman said in a statement, “As I have worked with the Marines on this issues in the past months, Yorktown has consistently stood as a great venue, providing the resources they needed for consolidation.”