Installations in Eastern North Carolina took an important step on their path to recovery following Hurricane Florence with a commissioning ceremony held Tuesday at Marston Pavilion to officially recognize Officer in Charge of Construction – Florence, a new Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) which will be led by U.S. Navy Capt. Jim Brown.

The command’s primary mission is to deliver both military construction (MILCON) and minor construction and repair projects enabling the recovery of facilities from the effects of Hurricane Florence at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Stations New River and Cherry Point.

The command will also oversee projects supporting the deployment of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter platform at MCAS Cherry Point. In total, the command will deliver 33 MILCON projects and 140 repair projects with a total value of $3.6 billion between Fiscal Year 20 and FY25.

Initially stood up last October, OICC-Florence currently consists of about 110 civil engineer corps officers, civilians and contractors. The command is expected to top out at approximately 170 members by early FY21. It will have two main field offices: Resident Officer in Charge of Construction-Florence Camp Lejeune (for MCB Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River) and ROICC-Florence Cherry Point.

Rear Adm. Dean VanderLey, commander, NAVFAC Atlantic, presided over the ceremony and expressed optimism about the difficult mission ahead for the new command. “This is going to be no small task, but I’m confident that we’ve put together the A-team here.”

After reading his formal appointment orders, Capt. Brown went a step further in defining the command’s ultimate purpose. “We have (junior Marines) who are counting on us to return what was broken in Florence. We owe it to them and we owe it to Congress who has resourced this effort to get it done and return this capability set to the Marine Corps.” Turning to VanderLey, he said, “I’m humbled to serve and I’m clear on what’s expected of me, sir. Mission accepted.”