Both of the Corps’ coastal South Carolina installations, the Parris Island recruit depot and the Beaufort air station, have been ordered to evacuate as Hurricane Dorian moves toward the East Coast, according to military officials.
As of 2:00 p.m. EDT Monday, the National Hurricane Center said Dorian was Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of nearly 150 mph.
Col. Timothy P. Miller, the Beaufort air station base commander, ordered the mandatory evacuation of non-essential Defense Department personnel aboard the air station effective noon Monday, according to a command release.
Parris Island has cancelled all graduation activities this week, and preparations are underway to bus recruits to Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Georgia, according to a command release.
A mandatory evacuation of Parris Island was in effect as of 5:00 p.m. Monday, according to the release.
Recruits will remain at and train at the Albany, Georgia, base until it is safe to return to Parris Island, a release detailed.
Parris Island has also delayed the arrival of recruits expected to ship to the South Carolina depot this week until later in September, according to the release. Future recruits should contact their recruiters for a new ship date.
The storm is expected to move “dangerously close” toward Florida’s east coast by late Monday through Wednesday evening and move close toward the Georgia and South Carolina coasts by Wednesday night and Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
“The county is under a mandatory evacuation order and roadways will be congested by residents evacuating the area,” Parris Island said in its release. “Please do not continue to travel here, and if you are in the area, please begin making travel arrangements to return home.”
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, ordered the mandatory evacuation of a number of South Carolina coastal counties effective at noon Monday.
Military and DoD personnel aboard the Beaufort air station were “encouraged to proceed to a safe haven location no less than 100 miles/no more than 400 miles and remain until the evacuation is terminated or directed to return,” according to an evacuation order from Miller.
The Beaufort air station posted Miller’s evacuation order and other details on its Facebook page.
The Beaufort air station is home to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, which trains F-35B pilots.
Second Lt. Kevin Buss, a spokesman for the Beaufort air station, told Marine Corps Times that no aircraft have been moved as a result of the approaching storm.
Recruits aboard Parris Island who were expected to graduate this week will have an informal graduation ceremony that will be posted online, according to the command release.
“We understand the significance of the formal graduation ceremony for both recruits and their families. Our decisions are based on overall safety for our recruits, Marines, personnel and their families,” the Parris Island release said.
The Parris Island recruit depot said it expects a return to normal operations by noon local time on Friday, according to the release.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.