U.S. Naval Station At China Lake ‘Not Mission Capable’

California Earthquakes Leave Naval Station China Lake ‘Not Mission Capable’ Two major earthquakes that struck Southern California late last week opened fault lines on Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and prompted officials to evacuate residents. Since Saturday, the Navy testing installation has been declared “not mission capable until further notice.
”As of late Monday, the Navy’s key research-and-development site for major aviation and weapons systems testing and evaluation remained off-limits to anyone but mission-essential personnel, as crews worked to inspect facilities at the sprawling installation complex.
China Lake, which covers 1.2 million acres of the Mojave desert, felt the brunt of the significant tremors, from the magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck at the morning of July 4 to the scores of aftershocks and then a magnitude 7.1 earthquake on Friday evening. U.S. Geological Survey experts identified the epicenters of the two largest tremors and countless others as occurring within the Navy installation. Navy personnel and California National Guard air crews assisted geologists in surveying the impacts of the tremors, which cracked paved roads, opened gashes across the desert area and shifted railroad tracks. The weapons station, as well as nearby towns of Ridgecrest and Trona, saw scattered damage from the quakes but no deaths or major destruction.
As of Monday evening, China Lake officials had reported few details about effects to the weapons station and offered scant information in public updates posted on the weapons station’s official Facebook page. The installation’s spokesperson hadn’t responded to a USNI News query as of Monday night.
Basic services such as water and power have been restored in most areas of the base, China Lake officials wrote in a Monday post on Facebook. The weapons station’s Navy Exchange planned to reopen Tuesday, so mission-essential personnel could get supplies and other items. “The barbershop will also open, but patrons will need to be escorted inside the barbershop,” officials wrote in another post.
But the earthquakes damaged the installation’s All-Faith Chapel, which was established in 1944. “The NAWSCL Religious Ministries services are cancelled due to structural damage to the building. All personnel are encouraged to seek services out in town,” officials posted on Facebook.

“The safety of our workforce is our priority. All are reminded to maintain high situational awareness,” installation officials wrote in a Facebook posting Monday afternoonNavy Region Southwest’s commander, Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, “authorized the evacuation of non-essential personnel to safe haven, Naval Base Ventura County,” on Friday, a region spokesman, Brian O’Rourke, told USNI News in a statement Monday afternoon. “This order remains in effect until further notice.”It’s unclear how many personnel and families opted to evacuate to Ventura County or other “safe haven” military installations, as the earthquakes happened over an extended holiday weekend for many military personnel.

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