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March 25, 2010

Posted by allthingshavelock in MCAS Cherry Point.
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Marines crack down on Catfish Lake Road commute

March 24, 2010 6:08 PM
Drew C. Wilson
Freedom ENC

HAVELOCK — Marine Corps officials issued an order limiting active duty personnel from using Catfish Lake Road.

The commanding generals of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Corps Installations East prohibited Marines and sailors from using the unpaved road except when they have a legitimate reason for being there, like hunting, fishing, or other lawful recreational activities in the Croatan National Forest.

Catfish Lake Road has been a popular shortcut between Havelock and Jacksonville but the road has been the site of numerous crashes involving both military personnel and civilians.

Nearly all wrecks have involved single vehicles sliding off the gravel road and in many cases overturning with serious consequences.

“Two recent mishaps involved the death of a Marine and serious injuries to another,” the order states.

Maj. Gen. Carl B. Jensen, commander of MCI East and Lt. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik, commander of the 2nd MEF, signed the order jointly.

“Both generals have always said their number one priority is the force preservation and the safety and welfare of all those under their command,” said Major Nat Fahy, public affairs officer for Camp Lejeune. “The bottom line for the generals is we don’t want our Marines to push their luck on this road. We do not want to have another senseless tragedy.”

A female Marine, Pfc. Erika Saucier, died in November 2009 after she rolled her truck and suffered serious head trauma and back injuries in a wreck on Catfish Lake Road. Saucier, 14 weeks pregnant, was attached to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron at Cherry Point air station.

“We do know that it is a popular cut-through for Marines going to and from Cherry Point and Camp Lejeune,” Fahy said. “They have no business using it as a cut through for commuting purposes.”

“The risk of vehicle mishaps along Catfish Lake Road are significantly higher because of the curves, blind spots, lack of posted speed limits and absence of roadway lighting at night,” the order states.

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