Photo Information

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper shakes hands with Marine Corps Installations East-Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Lejeune Deputy Commander Col. Ralph J. Rizzo, Jr. prior to a luncheon at The Club at Paradise Point on MCB Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, May 21, 2024. This is Cooper’s first visit to MCB Camp Lejeune since Hurricane Florence impacted the area and the installation's extensive reconstruction efforts began. During his tour, Cooper met with senior leaders of the installation, spoke with Marines during a luncheon for Military Appreciation Month and saw first-hand improvements made to installation facilities. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Leo Amaro)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Leo Amaro

Governor Cooper visits MCB Camp Lejeune to highlight Military Appreciation Month in North Carolina

24 May 2024 | Nat Fahy, Victoria Long and Maj. Ryan Powers Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper paid a visit to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in support of Military Appreciation Month, May 21, 2024. He was accompanied by North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Secretary Grier Martin and several advisors and staff. During his first visit since Hurricane Florence, the governor toured the installation to review several completed construction projects and those still underway. Tour stops included housing, new headquarters buildings, law enforcement facilities, and a new fire station under construction.

“I recall being here in late 2018 after Hurricane Florence and standing on the site of the devastation that had occurred at this great Marine base...I talked about the desperate need for investments,” Cooper said. “We’re seeing it pay off.”

Before setting off on his tour, Governor Cooper enjoyed lunch at The Club at Paradise Point with a group of active-duty Marines from Headquarters and Support Battalion. During the meal, the Marines discussed a wide range of topics with the governor, including childcare, local public schools’ support to military families, insurance and the transition to civilian life. Governor Cooper also expressed his strong desire for veterans to make North Carolina a permanent home following the end of their military service, highlighting initiatives such as the state’s military pension tax exemption and recent efforts to increase salaries for teachers within the state’s public school system.

"As we heard it around the table, that when you’re looking at anywhere in the world, a lot of Marines want to be in North Carolina, they want to end up in North Carolina when they get through with military service, and that says something about who we are as a state,” said Cooper.

During his tour of MCB Camp Lejeune, the governor and his team were escorted by the base’s deputy commander, U.S. Marine Corps Col. Ralph J. Rizzo, Jr., who addressed the need for the base to remain resilient in the face of future weather events.

“This installation needs to be able to take and sustain a blow but still project combat power in an efficient manner, and the governor and his team have absolutely advocated for that,” he said.

Rizzo is slated to become the new base commander following a formal change of command ceremony scheduled for this Friday.

Secretary Martin also marveled at the dramatic changes he witnessed during the tour.

“The level of investment and the quality of construction Governor Cooper and I have seen today is amazing,” said Martin. “It tells me that the Marine Corps knows that Camp Lejeune is a great place to send Marines and their families.”

More Media