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Reservists Arrive At Camp Lejeune As Marines Depart

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CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — As thousands of Marines ship out for duty overseas, reservists are arriving at this sprawling base totake their place.

Almost 800 reserve Marines and sailors from New England andOklahoma have arrived in recent days.

The first priority for these citizen-soldiers is getting familiar with the base and surroundingJacksonville, said Lt. Col. Rene Gagnon, 41, a constructioncontractor from Burlington, Vt., who is commanding officer of the1st Battalion of the 25th Marine Regiment.

Sunday's plans included watching the Super Bowl.

"We plan to get settled on the base first, then we'll grantliberty," Gagnon said. "It's not going to be restrictive at all."

The battalion left Boston for Camp Lejeune on Friday. Itincludes reserve units from Ayer, Mass.; Topsham, Maine;Londonderry, N.H.; Plainville, Conn.; and Broken Arrow, Okla.

Half of the reservists have academic degrees or were attendingcollege when they were mobilized. Some are doctors, lawyers andpolice officers.

"Approximately one third of them are from law enforcement,"Gagnon said, including about two dozen Boston police officers.

They have been ordered to take up arms for one year, with thepossibility of a one-year extension under a partial mobilizationauthorized by President Bush.

No further details of the unit'sassignment were disclosed.

About 7,000 members of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade leftCamp Lejeune for the Persian Gulf two weeks ago.

Following to support them was a floating aviation repair shopthat finished preparations Sunday to leave the state port atMorehead City, said Capt. Bruce Frame, a spokesman for the CherryPoint Marine Corps Air Station near Havelock.

Aviation repair specialists working aboard the ship - which ispiloted by a civilian crew but contracted to military sealiftcommand - work on any aircraft parts that can't be fixed at anairfield, Frame said.

The Marines from Cherry Point deploying on the ship will beexpected to keep AV-8B Harriers and EA-6B Prowlers flying.

TheCherry Point aircraft logistics squadron was joined by Marines fromsimilar squadrons at Beaufort, S.C., and Miramar, Calif., whichtypically work on F/A-18 Hornet jet fighter.

The SS Wright normally docks in Baltimore, Md., with a skeletoncrew of nine merchant sailors. When called into duty, it carries a35-person civilian crew and 300 or more Marines and sailors.

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