China Lake shifts into recovery activity

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Key and essential employees of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake wait in line to gain access to the base. Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake was affected by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, which occurred near NAWSCL and the city of Ridgecrest, Calif., July 5 and a 6.4 magnitude earthquake one day prior. (Navy photograph by PO1 Bryan Niegel)

Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake increased military and civilian presence on the base July 15 just 10 days after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake on July 4 and 7.1 magnitude earthquake on July 5.

Following those events, Commander, Navy Region Southwest authorized the evacuation of non-essential active duty military, drilling reservists, civilian employees and authorized dependents from NAWS China Lake to designated Safe Haven until July 13; later modified to expire midnight on July 17.

Separate, but related to the order to evacuate, mission essential personnel enabled the transition into recovery phase late last week facilitating NAWS and Tenant Commands to continue a measured approach regarding the level of mission essential personnel on the installation.

“NAWSCL in collaboration with Tenant Commands continues to gradually increase the quantity of mission essential personnel on an expansive installation consisting of 1.2 million acres,” said Capt. Paul Dale, NAWSCL commanding officer. “As we bring more enablers to mission online, stakeholders have an opportunity to make decisions regarding the amount of DoD civilian, contractor, and military service personnel conducting duties. A balance exists between number of personnel performing duties on the installation and the infrastructure, facilities, and service capabilities able to absorb those personnel performing duties – we must maintain that equilibrium to keep recovery operations functioning at the highest level.”

Jaime Uriarte cleans up water damage prior to families returning to their homes onboard Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake was affected by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, which occurred near NAWSCL and the city of Ridgecrest, Calif., July 5 and a 6.4 magnitude earthquake one day prior. (Navy photograph by PO1 Bryan Niegel)

NAWS and Tenant Commands in consultation with Human Resource offices have emphasized the opportunity to telework should duties permit, as well as temporary work locations until pre major earthquake locations are available for use by workforce members. Such ongoing activity enables Commands to stabilize workforce activity while maintaining the aforementioned balance.

Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) has completed assessments for over 30 percent of the 1,384 buildings located on Department of the Navy lands. In terms of reconstitution of infrastructure and personnel, Armitage Airfield enabled a first round of U.S. Navy fixed wing aircraft sorties on July 10.

In addition, the comprehensive inspection of all 192 Public Private Venture accompanied housing units on the installation finished on the morning of July 10 with an ensuing heavy weight of effort placed upon restoration and repair of homes. Nevertheless, an inability to occupy six houses exists due to burst water line damage for about four to six weeks.

Doug Foster cleans off a wall after repairing water damage prior to families returning to their homes onboard Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake was affected by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, which occurred near NAWSCL and the city of Ridgecrest, Calif., July 5 and a 6.4 magnitude earthquake one day prior. (Navy photograph by PO1 Bryan Niegel)

“The restoration and repair of the six homes is, despite a multitude of priorities, a top priority, as well Lincoln Military Housing early and often communicated with residents and secured suitable temporary accommodations until readiness of the six homes,” said Dale.

The anticipated workforce and resident population measured increase generates ongoing objectives and activity to produce a return of quality of life services. The services currently available on the installation to mission essential personnel and privatized Housing residents are; Branch Health Clinic (Medical, Dental, and Pharmacy), Fleet and Family Service Center, Child Development Center, School-Age Care Center, MWR Rec Stop (temporarily a Child Youth Program Teen Center), MWR ITT and Auto Hobby, MWR Fitness Annex, MWR Oasis outdoor pool, Take 5ive cafe, Navy Exchange gas station, NAWS Pass and ID office, and Naval Personnel Command Common Access Card office. The Navy Exchange mini-mart, NEX flight line café, and Commissary plan to open for normal operations the week of 15 July.