Camp Lejeune is home to a massive Marine Corps Base spanning over 156,000 acres. The facility also covers 14 miles of beaches and houses over 137,000 residents. Due to the size of the facility, you may wonder if civilians can visit Camp Lejeune.
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Access to Camp Lejeune is only available to authorized individuals, including sponsored visitors and those on official business. Civilians cannot drive to the gate and gain access without prior authorization. Visitors must also wait at the visitor center to complete the vetting process.
How Do Civilians Visit Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune?
Civilians that wish to visit Camp Lejeune need to receive approval. Base access is only granted to sponsored visitors, contractors, and vendors. Other than contractors and vendors, visitors are typically family members and close relations of individuals serving or working on the base.
Service members and on-base personnel can request authorization for a visitor. However, the sponsor must be able to provide accommodations for the visitor during their stay. Visitor requests may also take several weeks to process.
If a visitor request is approved, the visitor must visit the Camp Lejeune Visitor Center for the vetting process. The Marine Corps verifies the identity of visitors and issues Defense Biometric Identification System (DBIDS) cards. The visitor center is open Monday through Friday between 5 am and 9 pm.
Contractors and vendors arriving at the base for official business must visit the Camp Lejeune Contractor Vetting Office. Contractors and vendors will either receive a DBIDS card or a temporary pass. DBIDS cards are issued to those needing access for 61 days or longer.
Where is Camp Lejeune?
Camp Lejeune was built along the New River, which flows to the Atlantic Ocean along Onslow Beach. The base expanded over the years to include 14 miles of beach. 11 miles of the beachfront provide amphibious training for the Marines.
It is a 15-minute drive from Jacksonville, North Carolina, which is the closest city and part of Onslow County. The closest community is Sneads Ferry, which is a census-designated place (CDP) with a population of over 10,000. It is a short drive from the main gate to Camp Lejeune.
The main entrance is just east of Jacksonville. Visitors can reach the main entrance off Highway 24. Additional entrances are located to the east and south near Hubert and Sneads Ferry.
When Was Camp Lejeune Built?
The US Marine Corps base was originally constructed between 1941 and 1942 and covered 11,000 acres. The base now includes over 156,000 acres of land. The camp was named after Lieutenant General John A. Lejeune, who was the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps.
The military owns all real estate inside the base, including houses, administrative buildings, and schools. Residents have access to childcare, education, shopping, and many recreational activities. Facilities include a library, hobby shops, a commissary, and fitness centers.
Is Onslow Beach Open to Civilians?
Onslow Beach is not open to civilians without proper authorization. The beach is part of the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
While Onslow Beach is located inside a Marine Corps base, it includes a variety of rental houses and nearby amenities for visitors. It is a popular vacation destination for authorized individuals.
To gain access to Onslow Beach, civilians need to receive sponsorship from a service member or qualified resident of the base. Visitor requests are processed through the Camp Lejeune Visitor Center.
How Many Soldiers Are in Camp Lejeune?
Camp Lejeune houses about 38,778 active-duty military personnel. The base includes over 450 miles of roads and 6946 buildings to support a population of over 137,526 individuals.
Along with Marines, the base includes 38,769 family members, 3,349 civilian employees, and 18,719 retirees and their family members. The population of Camp Lejeune exceeds that of Jacksonville, which has a population of 71,758.
What Military Unit Is Camp Lejeune?
Camp Lejeune is home to the Expeditionary Forces in Readiness. It has also become the home base for several other divisions and combat units, including the 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, and the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force.