Pensacola military evacuate to MCLB - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Pensacola military evacuate to MCLB

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July 9, 2005

Albany-- Last September, as Hurricane Ivan came ashore, MCLB hosted 1,300 military personnel from the Pensacola Naval Air Station as they sought refuge from the storm. Now Hurricane Dennis has over 2,000 servicemen and women evacuating to south Georgia.

MCLB has a memorandum of agreement with Pensacola as well as Parris Island in the event of inclement weather like Hurricane Dennis. Military personnel began evacuating Friday afternoon and are currently making themselves comfortable in what will be their new home for the next few days.

Military personnel are lined up in formation Saturday after about a five hour trip Friday night. "We came in over 40 buses, a little bit over 2,000 folks," says Major David Vail. There's a huge number of personnel including Marines, the Air Force and the Navy. "They just arrived on station, got a quick nap and they're up," says AOC Brian Cribb.

They're different branches of the military but they have one thing in common. "We evacuated the Naval Air Station in Pensacola. We're up here basically to wait out the storm," says Vail. They're waiting out what Hurricane Dennis has to offer. The Marine Corps Logistics Base is making accomodations after receiving a call from Pensacola officials.

"We're pretty excited to have them here. We want to make sure that we're good hosts so we're doing everything possible to make sure that happens," says Captain Steve Butler of MCLB. The base is providing sleeping arrangements, meals and shelter for the servicemen and women. "There are over 2,000 cots and we'll probably be serving well over 15,000 meals during their particular stay," says Butler.

PFC Joseph Torres is thankful that he's watching the storm from here in south Georgia. "I'm very thankful because if I was there, who knows what could have happened," says Torres. And although it's a little uncomfortable with the heat in the warehouses, he feels much safer feeling the winds of a blowing fan instead of the high winds and wet rain threatening the Florida Panhandle.

"Most of Pensacola I would say is empty about now," says Vail. A good portion is here saluting as they wait out the storm.

To keep them occupied, the base will be showing movies at the theater and providing activities like swimming and working out in the fitness center. The service members will also help out at the base when needed. It's not determined how long they will be in Albany. It all depends on Dennis.

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