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thedrifter
08-13-06, 01:36 PM
Published on Sunday, August 13, 2006

N.C. prepares to spend $1 million on military quality of life

RALEIGH, N.C.
The Associated Press

North Carolina is ready to prove its claim of being the nation's most military-friendly state, with $1 million to give the state's seven bases and installations to improve their residents' quality of life.

The money was authorized by the state Legislature last year as part of the Military Support Act, created as the Pentagon reviewed the value of its facilities nationwide and considered whether to close or restructure them.

North Carolina fared well with the Base Closure and Realignment Commission, which realigned Pope Air Force Base under Army control and added two major commands to neighboring Fort Bragg, while making smaller changes elsewhere in the state.

But Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, who led the state's efforts to woo the Pentagon during the process, said North Carolina's support for military families is just as important now as it was a year ago.

"The military is a vital part of the fabric of North Carolina and we will continue to support our troops and their families," she said in a statement.

The biggest shares of the money will go to the state's biggest bases, with $404,500 to Fort Bragg and $363,900 to Camp Lejeune. The Marine Corps' air station at Cherry Point will receive $78,100 and $51,200 goes to the New River Air Station.

Pope is due to get $50,200 and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base will get $42,500; while the U.S. Coast Guard Support Center in Elizabeth City will receive $9,600.

The money is geared toward developing and expanding community service, morale and recreational programs on military installations.

"While the war effort may be subject to debate, the support of our military families is unanimous," Gov. Mike Easley said in a statement. "We are 100 percent committed to protecting our military families while we pray for the swift and safe return of our soldiers."

Cherry Point spokesman Maj. Shawn Haney said the money the base receives will be used by Marine Corps Community Service, which handles all morale and recreational activities.

"There are counseling services and new parent support programs," she said. "They also have single Marine programs for the Marines who are here away for their families."

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Information from: The Daily News,

Ellie