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Interview with Robert (Bobby) Jones, May 11, 2001 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with Robert (Bobby) Jones, May 11, 2001
May 11, 2001
Zarbock: My name is Paul Zarbock and I'm interviewing Mr. Bobby Jones in Southport, North Carolina.  It’s the 11th of May in the year 2001.  Mr. Jones has had a long and distinguished professional career with Sunny Point Military Terminal just outside of Southport and with that slender introduction, I'm going to turn it over to Mr. Jones.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee: Jones, Robert (Bobby) Interviewer: Zarbock, Paul Date of Interview: 5/11/2001 Series: Southeast North Carolina (SENC)

Mr. Jones, how did Sunny Point get here, what events proceeded Sunny Point’s arrival here?

Jones: At the outset, I would like to say that I'm not speaking for the Department of Defense or the Department of the Army. I'm a retired civil service employee as you mentioned. Sunny Point is located about 25 miles south of Wilmington and 4 miles north of Southport. At the end of World War II, there were several instances involving explosive shipment in the United States that caused some problems. One being the Texas City fire down in Texas that caused some casualties, shipping of private oil, petroleum or something of that nature.

Then shortly thereafter the Army loading at a port upstream from San Francisco called Port Chicago as I understand was a more or less heavily populated area and had an explosion there, killed quite a few people. In fact everyone on the waterfront, the two ships that were at the pier were completely demolished along with the pier itself, leaving only the pylons protruding about a foot out of the water. Actually in that incident, some people were killed and injured in a movie theater a mile or two, I don’t know exactly how far from the pier, but some distance from there.

This caused the powers that be in Washington, the military planners, to decide they needed a safe handling port in the United States and they considered several places on the Gulf Coast and along the East Coast. Finally two were selected, one being Sunny Point and the other being in King’s Bay, Georgia, which King’s Bay is located about 30 miles north of Jacksonville, Florida. And it was determined at that point to form these two terminals.

And in 1950, Sunny Point was chosen as a site for one of the ports and the reason being it was relatively uncrowded, not many people around. The ship channel was right there and the possibility of connection to railroad, although the existing railroad was about 18-1/2 miles away, the Atlantic Coastline at that time.

So the land acquisition was started in 1951. The area was called Sunny Point and had been on some of the ships’ charts known as Sunny Point, a little point of land which ended up about where the Sunny pier is now and the land didn’t displace too many people, although it depends on what you call too many. There were 40-50 families. I'm guessing at that, plus Horton Plantation owned a large amount of that land, about 3000 acres I think. Somewhere between 2000 and 3000 acres was part of that.

The Savannah district engineer was charged with real estate acquisition because the military real estate office for this area at that time was in the Savannah district and they made appraisals of all of the land involved and dealt with the various property owners and most of the property owners accepted the appraisers’ amounts and they went ahead and turned the land over to the United States government with the exception of Horton Plantation. That went to court. The land was taken by condemnation procedures and it ended up in Federal Court. About 10 years later, it was settled and needless to say the amounts of money were quite more per acre than what the other people received because they couldn’t afford to wait 10 years I guess. That’s just my thoughts.

After the land acquisition, the Corps of Engineers was charged with building the facility for the Transportation Corps at that time. It was the Transportation Corps which eventually it ended up as the Military Traffic Management Command at Sunny Point now.

After the land acquisition, the project started in about late ’51 and as I recall the terminal opened some time in October 1955, I think it was October 15.

Zarbock: But the lawsuit with the Horton Plantation was still going on, is that right?

Jones: Until about 1960. I don’t know the dates even though I was charged with handling real estate matters as part of my jobs.

Zarbock: What was your official title in those days?

Jones: It changed two or three times. It was Chief of the Plant Engineer Division, Post-Engineer Division. Then it changed to Facilities Engineer Division. Our division was charged with the maintenance of all of the facilities and new construction, the woodman management, wildlife management, environmental concerns which really came to light in the 60s and 70s you know. I'm trying to think of what other things, oh fire prevention and protection with the fire department.

Incidentally the terminal had quite an elaborate fire protection plan of which you could understand because of what we were dealing with at the time. I guess I should mention the design of the terminal since it was approved about this point where the land was acquired. The original design included three piers or wharfs as you might have it and they are designed parallel to the land. Each wharf is about 2000 feet long with different configurations of approached trestles at each end. You can enter and exit sort of in a loop system and depending on the topography is how the different trestles were built.

There are railroad tracks on each pier and the pier is 87 feet wide plus a loading apron which is 17-18 feet wide built up high to railcar height so that the cargo coming out of the railcar will be right on the loading apron height level.

I might also mention that at this point the primary design of the terminal envisioned using mostly rail track which changed a little over the years. Everything was designed primarily for the cargo to come in on rail and there were four truck holding pads which were tractor trailers, tractors come in and leave their trailers and just leave the cargo in the holding place.

The rail operation, I might also tell you about the land before I get into that. The land itself, originally there was about 9,200 acres purchased in fee simple plus about two years later in order to get the explosive distance, we purchased another 2,100 acres in the Fort Fisher area over by Carolina Beach in Fort Fisher from Federal Point down to Snow’s Cut.

Zarbock: Was that occupied at that time? Were there homes there?

Jones: One or two. It was fairly isolated. I think there were only two or three homes there.

Zarbock: Didn’t have all the urban type of sprawl that we got.

Jones: No, no. In fact, Sunny Point still owns it and it was not acquired on a lease. It was acquired in fee simple, same as the terminal. Now at the time of the land acquisition, some of the property, about 5,000 acres of it, was acquired under a lease which the lease agreement, in this particular case, allows the property owner to use the land, but it can’t have inhabited buildings. They can use it for forestry or hunting and fishing, some agriculture purposes, but they can’t be gathering above 25 people.

The purpose of that was explosive, to get the quantity distance for explosive use. Also in the land acquisition, we acquired 652 acres up near Leland for interchange yard. Sunny Point has an access railroad from Sunny Point to Leland which is 18-1/2 miles where the cargo is dropped off at the interchange yard owned by the Army. This interchange yard, I think it has six or seven tracks parallel to each other and the commercial railroad drops the cargo off there and leaves it. Sunny Point has their own locomotives and they go up to the interchange yard, pick up the cargo there and bring it in to Sunny Point.

Zarbock: But that track is the exclusive, is used exclusively for military purposes, is that correct?

Jones: Originally it was, but it’s, Sunny Point has agreed with CP&L and Pfizer, no it’s A.D.M. now, Pfizer’s no longer there to bring some of their cargo down to the railroad and put it in one of their yards before you get to Sunny Point and those private firms pay Sunny Point so much a car to deliver and then they pick them up later and take whatever…

Zarbock: Who provides the coordination? You can’t have trains bumping into each other. Somebody has to say you go first…

Jones: No, it has to be Sunny Point’s locomotive. They’re pick up with Sunny Point’s regular runs to the interchange.

Zarbock: Oh, okay.

Jones: There are no private locomotives allowed to run on that railroad. Initially, it was all Sunny Point’s. The way that…railroad is 175 foot railway from Sunny Point to Leland and it’s a permanent perpetual easement which, for all practical purposes, they own it, but it was not bought in fee simple.

Part of the easement area, the restricted easement area goes into Orton Pond. It’s the arc that goes through the middle of Orton Pond and it takes in part of Brunswick town, most of Brunswick town, as a matter of fact, is within the restricted easement. Sunny Point can have domain if there’s a danger to having explosives or something in a certain area close to Orton Plantation and Brunswick town, the commander at Sunny Point can require them to close down. They can do the same with the ferry. The ferry thing is within…

Zarbock: Is the A.D.M plant…?

Jones: No, it’s not. A.D.M. is out of it.

Zarbock: And so is CP&L.

Jones: So is CP&L. The easement area borders CP&L’s property, but CP&L is not in it. I was talking about picking up the railcars at the interchange, they board into the terminal and the ammunition inspectors, they have a little yard, not a yard but an inspection station.

When the trains come in, they have an inspection pit under the cars and they have walkways built up on the sides and a tower over the top. The inspectors inspect every car that comes through there. It has the lights under it and see if it’s been tampered with or anything of that nature.

Once they clear the inspection, they’re taken to a classification yard and then the classification yard, the cargo is classified as to what ship it’s going on and whether the cargo is compatible with each other or whatever and then it’s moved into a holding yard.

Zarbock: Would you explain compatibility and non-compatibility? Sounds like a family fight or something (laughter).

Jones: The bombs and the ignitors are not compatible with each other for one thing. I'm not sure they are other things too.

Zarbock: Okay, that’s a good illustration.

Jones: Anyway, they go to a holding yard. The rail holding yards are built like little fingers with each barricades in between them and physically hold (people will take issue with this, I'm sure), I'm just saying 10 cars. I know they build 30 foot cars and they build 40’s and 45’s and things like that, but generally speaking, a rail yard will physically hold 10 cars. But they may not be allowed to put but one or two because of the amount of explosive that’s in the car and it comes within a quantity distance as how much and how close dirt is in between.

These earth barricades are supposed to, if you have an explosion, are supposed to make the explosive force go up. We never tried that, but….

Zarbock: So far (laughter).

Jones: Hopefully, that’s true. The different facilities are certain distances apart based on formulas that the Armed Services Safety Explosive Board, I won’t say they had it done, but they probably have some explosive experts figure all this stuff out. That’s how the distances that the amount of land that was purchased, the distance between the three different piers, these types of things are based on net explosive content – how much explosives you can have on a ship and can have another ship adjacent to it.

The piers are designed for two at each wharf and you could, actually you can get three there, but the explosive restrictions wouldn’t allow that.

Zarbock: I just realized that a ship carrying munitions and explosives would pass right in back of you at a distance of maybe a 1000 yards, is that correct?

Jones: Yeah.

Zarbock: Oh my.

Jones: And during the Vietnam era, I'm sure someone will take issue with this, but, and I can’t verify it, but approximately 80% to 85% of the military explosives that went to Vietnam went by there.

Zarbock: Who loads the ships?

Jones: There’s contracts with stevedore contractors to actually provide the loading operation and they’re supervised by the Cargo Operations Division at Sunny Point and by the explosive ammunition inspectors. Those two are independent groups that work for the government, but they both have their job to do as far as loading ships and the stevedore contractor has, his labor comes from the ILA, International Longshoremen Association, which is the longshoremen union along the east coast and probably the west coast too.

Zarbock: Well Mr. Jones, what’s the role of the military then if you've got civilians loading the ships, you've got civilians crewing the ships, you've got contractors providing investigation and supervision, what does the military do?

Jones: The Commander is military, normally a colonel. The Director of Operations is normally military. The Deputy Commander, the Provost Martial and some of the other junior officers that assist these people are military. For instance, during my time normally there were about 250-260 civilians and 14 or 15 military. This area where we are now, this six acres here is part of Sunny Point. Sunny Point owns this land this building is sitting on. It’s leased up to the city.

Zarbock: And the commander of Sunny Point is the next door neighbor to this building.

Jones: This land has belonged to many different government agencies, the Lighthouse Service, the Coast Guard, the Air Force. I can hardly remember everybody that’s had it. The longest period of time I've known of anyone owning it other than Sunny Point was the Lighthouse Service. They kept a man who lived here who maintained all of the lights in the river, the markers for the ships to go by in the channels, that type of thing.

Well I had gotten the cargo up to the holding yard and was sort of sidetracked, but once the cargo is kept in these holding areas, when you get to the loading the ship, a list of car numbers, this must be pretty complicated for the freight tracking division to try to keep up with all the cargo. That’s, you know, quite a job trying to keep track of where everything is and put it in the right place on the ships so it’s unloaded at the right sequence at the right port and that type of thing. So, I'm not too familiar with that, although I heard about it all my career and knew some of the people but I knew all the people.

Anyway when the cargo is called for at the wharf, the railcars are taken down to the pier, as I mentioned, before there are three rail tracks in front of the loading aprons where the ships and tied. You put dock boards, which are metal ramps, between the cars and between the loading apron. You run forklifts in the cars take the material out and take it out on the apron. Then the ship crane picks it up. This is not containers. This could be palletized or break-buck cargo, either one.

At lunchtime the cars are normally reconfigured because the inside car may be empty and the second car may have to be half open so you have to reconfigure them at lunchtime. Then they’re loaded into the ship using the ship’s gears only. Most of the ships other than container ships have their own boons and cranes that they reach over the loading apron and they pick up the gear and put it in holding.

The longshoremen work in the railcars. They work on the ships. They do everything. The crew of the ship does nothing as far as loading is concerned. That’s generally the way it is at all ports.

Zarbock: Who offloads it? Does the crew of the ship offload?

Jones: No, no, they have the same situation.

Zarbock: Okay, all right.

Jones: If they go to a military combat zone, normally they have military stevedores who work around the world. They all trained in Little Creek or at Fort Eustis. I don’t happen to know a lot about that. Sometimes cargo is brought back to Sunny Point, retrograde cargo, military explosives that have not been used. It is aged or something of that nature. Then it goes back to an arsenal to be either disposed of or reused in some other method, but there’s not too much of that.

Most of the shipment is outgoing. Very little of it is coming back. One instance while I was there, we had a ship bring back a load of World War II explosives that were left over there after the war about 15-20 years later. Some of it was German explosives, some of it was American, different kinds. I remember some of the German hand grenades had the wooden handles that screwed on and we processed it to make sure that it was a sink and put it in the metal containers and got some garbage pails out of New York and dumped it at sea. In fact, one of my jobs was to verify that it would sink. I had to sign statements that it would overcome flotation, that type of thing. That was sort of interesting. That only happened one time.

The nerve gas deal, that was some that had been in the United States for some period of time and it was getting over-aged or staged out or something like that. They tried to ship to New Jersey and of course everybody objected and people would lay down on the tracks and that type thing. About two years later, we received orders that we were getting it.

Zarbock: Now what year was that? Do you remember?

Jones: I don’t remember. I think it was in the 60’s, but I've forgotten the date. We had an old liberty ship sent down and we took all of the material off that liberty ship that would float like the hatch covers and things like that and loaded the nerve gas in the liberty ship and put new seacocks in it so that the water would run in the ship fast enough and it would sink. The ordinary seacocks in the liberty would take half a day to sink the ship. They had to be modified in order to do that.

That ship was taken somewhere off of Jacksonville, Florida and it sunk.

Zarbock: I remember the night it pulled out of this river. We were on vacation and we had rented a cottage at Long Beach and it pulled out probably in August, but I've forgotten the year too.

Jones: Yeah, I don’t remember either, but that was a significant thing I remember everybody talked about.

Zarbock: What did you have to do to that ship? You changed the seacocks…

Jones: No, they were changed at a railway somewhere before it was towed here. We didn’t do it. Another thing, we took all of the hatch covers, those wooden hatch covers, which they would be worth a fortune now. People would make coffee tables out of them (laughter). There must have been 3 or 400 of them.

Zarbock: Really?

Jones: Yeah, but we burned them. Sunny Point, as I mentioned before, is real fire conscious, the people there in the fire department. There’s a perimeter road around the terminal with a chain link fence with barbed wire around it. Inside that perimeter road, fire lanes cross-cross all through the terminal. What I'm calling a fire lane, you can drive on them. They’re sort of undeveloped roads and they’re wide enough that you can backfire from it or if you have a fire and a lot of wind, that you can backfire and try to stop the fire.

Sunny Point did have, I guess they still do, tractors with fire plows that are used for containing forest fires and every year while I was there we cut fire lanes besides the railroad tracks all the way to Leland and back.

Zarbock: What did you say there was – 18…

Jones: 18-1/2 miles. One of the problems that occurred along the access railroad back in the early 60’s, we had a sink hole develop overnight right by the cross ties and we got some people up here from Savannah with a drill rig, the Savannah District of Engineers I'm referring to, and drilled about every 5 feet for about 200 feet there and we found a void under the track that was about 77 feet long and 14 feet deep, sort of diamond shape and the reason I said that was I drew a profile full of water. We ended up building a bridge on that flat on a hill which is unusual building a bridge on a hill that was filled and went down to limestone about 68-70 feet, put 3 or 4 foot caissons down steel pipe, filled them with concrete and built like a trestle flat on the ground.

Things went real well for about 15 years and we started having some water behind the dam at Boiling Springs and so we ended up in court in Boiling Springs and federal court and they were claiming that the vibrations from the train was causing that dam to fail. We were claiming that building the dam had changed the hydrostatic pressure in the area which caused the limestone failure. Finally they had a jury trial and we won the case. We didn’t get any money, but we established the fact that we didn’t cause the dam to fail.

Then we put in a project to build a bridge similar to the one that I just described except it was to be about a half mile long behind the dam and on past it in case the dam would have failed, it wouldn’t take our railroad out. So I don’t know whether these figures are exactly right. I know what our estimate was before I left and they were building when I left and it was well over $10 million.

Zarbock: What year was that?

Jones: ’86 and it’s been completed a long time. Like I say, the final cost I don’t know. It’s hard to tell with projects like that what happens. That was one of the things that was sort of unusual.

We had a couple of geologists with us from Savannah and one from Wilmington for years so I was introduced to whoever geology – dredging is a big factor at Sunny Point and all along this river. As you know, there’s a big project going on now to deepen the harbor for the container ships to go to Wilmington which will also help Sunny Point I think.

Back in the early days of Sunny Point, the routine dredging which occurred about every year was done by pipeline dredges which are dredges that look like a big barge with a house on it and they have big pumps. The men lived in these little rooms and they have a galley and that type thing. It has a dredge mechanism with a big cover head on it that goes down and cuts up the material if necessary and the pumps suck it up and take it into a pipeline. In this case at Sunny Point, it was usually 20 or 24 inch. These were contractors that did this, the dredging.

As I say, in the first early days of dredging, they dredged the material across the river, put pipeline on the bottom of the river and came up and dredged over toward Carolina Beach in the shallow water.

Zarbock: That’s where the ________ would go?

Jones: Discharge over there and the dredging course were like 15 cents a yard. It was still quite a big of money in those days – a million yards at 15 cents a yard, that’s a lot of money back then. Then we hit the environmental restrictions and we were forced to build big dikes on the waterfront.

We built four dikes, dike one, dike two, dike three, dike four. These were big embankment areas that were built with drag lines. One we built was about 5 miles around it and the top elevation was probably about 25 feet. In those dikes, we were required to have spillway structures to – let me say this – dredging one thing leads to another. Pipeline dredging, about 80% of what passes in the material that you discharge as water so it’s got to go back somewhere.

In the case of dredging in the river, it didn’t – it just stayed in the river. So we had to release that water back and allow the sediment to settle for some period of time and release it back in the river. Then before the next dredging project occurred, these dikes will dry out and leave crevices, I know you've seen them of mud all around, the perfect breeding area for salt marsh mosquitoes, had to get an entomologist out of the U.S. Farming and Environment Hygiene Agency to come down and teach us about the mosquitoes.

Zarbock: You now have shifted from geology to entomology?

Jones: Yes, and you’d be surprised at millions of mosquitoes in a little square foot area. So then one of the noteworthy things I remember about that was the helicopters. I don’t know if it was the lava side or what the proper name of it is – was shipped out of Oregon to us. This entomologist got it for us and dropped it from helicopters, released it and we put out in these disposal areas they put down little square, one yard square cloths to tell what the discharge rate we were getting. He was doing it real scientifically and trying to find out.

The main thing we were interested in was getting rid of the damn mosquitoes. Anyway that was a problem caused by…we corrected the problem in the river and created another problem. So we built some more dikes and then we were getting salt water intrusion into the ground water, another problem created by that. So one thing we had, we had to build a slurry wall, dig down about 30 feet around the base of one dike that was migrating the saltwater toward it and finally we had to stop that.

We had to go down about 30 feet and put a slurry wall that was impervious to the water or the saltwater to prevent it from moving laterally through the ground toward the plantation.

Zarbock: But saltwater would be impounded then behind…what did you use, some sort of filament, some sort of plastic or what did you use?

Jones: You mean what did we put in the ground?

Zarbock: Yeah.

Jones: Bentonite.

Zarbock: Tell me what bentonite is.

Jones: Well I can’t tell you exactly. It looks like a real dark colored sand, but it’s like a cement.

Zarbock: Oh is that right? Okay.

Jones: Yeah. It gets hard when it gets down in the damp area and becomes impervious so the water can’t pass through it. Oh I'm on the subject of dredging and the different environmental problems.

So the next thing in dredging, by that time our dredging costs had run up from 15 cents a yard to about $3.00. We weren’t allowed to do that anymore so we had to go to the clamshell and barge type dredging. You’re familiar with that. It looks like a big clamshell goes down to the bottom, picks it up, brings all the water up and it all splashes out. You put it in a barge and haul it out to sea and dump it. As far as I know, that’s the point they are at now with dredging.

They’re developing new methods, I'm sure there’ll be something pretty soon because everybody is so interested in getting fill put on the beaches and that type thing. This material would be suitable for that.

Well let me go back some. I thought this was significant, the name of Sunny Point. When it was approved to build, the early plans had Wilmington Ammunition Loading Terminal on their title description. Then Sunny Point has had four names. Most people don’t know that, Wilmington Ammunition Loading Terminal. Then it became Sunny Point Army Ammunition Loading Terminal. Then it became Sunny Point Army Terminal. Now it’s Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point and it has been Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point for 20 years.

Sunny Point Army Terminal for a long time. Wilmington Ammunition Loading Terminal not very long, maybe until the paper….

Zarbock: What did the names change?

Jones: The local people at Sunny Point, the commander on down or up has no control of that. These names are people up in Washington have to, they decide what the sign on the front of the terminal should look like. It sounds a little better, that type of thing. It takes the great thinkers to do that (laughter).

You can stop some of these pauses I got if you can. A couple of significant things I recall, during the Cuban crisis and the Dominican Republic crisis, we shipped Marines out. They brought Navy vessels in and the Marines from LeJeune moved down to Sunny Point which was not the mission of Sunny Point, but you know it was in a crisis and it was a good thing to do I think. The mission of Sunny Point at the outset was the transshipment of explosive cargo over the world. I don’t know what the mission is now, the official mission.

One of the things on one of the items you had mentioned, what did I think could be done in the future or something like that. I think that since Sunny Point has three piers and that things are probably going into containers and we, when I say we, I'm not there, but I can’t help saying that even now, we never had any use for all three piers at one time except during the Vietnam era. We used all three piers then. And it might come to that in a mobilization situation.

I'm not sure of that, although the two container cranes are on one pier and they can’t be moved to another pier. I won’t say they can’t be, it’s not feasible. You won’t go there and move them tomorrow because when we put those cranes on those piers, we had to cut through the piers for a distance of about 800 feet and put pilings down to hold the cranes. Cranes run up and down on the track like a railroad track and we had to put a row of pilings down the distance they extended that track for about 800 feet. If you think of moving them, then you got to put a foundation for them somewhere.

What I'm saying is, one or two of the piers could be free for shipping military cargo such as vehicles. This is just my thoughts. Now I'm sure you’ll get a lot of politics involved in it because it would probably take it away from somewhere else, you know.

You could move military vehicles, household goods for people stationed overseas, things of that nature. All household goods, as far as I know, are going out of New Jersey and that very well could have been changed, but that’s the way it used to be.

Another thing that could be considered if the utilization were such of the facilities, commercial explosives. There are companies that ship commercial explosives and they would need a safe port as well as military. I know that Blue Star Shipping Company out of Jacksonville, they ship dynamite and some other explosives. Those were just my thoughts of what could be possible. But I would more think that the military should use it for their own use, but that gets into politics too I guess. Vehicles and that type thing.

Zarbock: Did you enjoy your work?

Jones: Oh yeah.

Zarbock: Well then you never worked a day in your life, did you, if you enjoyed it.

Jones: I was on call all the time. I could go at 2:00 in the morning. I had been know to be there Friday afternoon and come home Monday night, things like that.

Zarbock: When you retired, what was your official title at that time?

Jones: I was the Chief of the Facilities Engineer Division. They changed it so much. Maybe it was Engineering Division. I believe that’s the way it was.

Zarbock: That’s a really wide stand of control.

Jones: They contracted out some of the functions of the civil engineers, some of the roads and grounds, I don’t know what all now because I haven’t really been that close in touch lately. In the final analysis, the civil engineers have to monitor the contract so there’s not a lot of difference. He’s the fire marshall among other things and the environmental officer.

One thing that we did over the years is hire a forester and developed a woodland management plan and sell lumber. We were probably the only military installation that, no we weren’t, there were a lot of military installations sell timber, but we were one of the few that made any money for the government (laughter).

Zarbock: Am I correct, you can go hunting and fishing?

Jones: Yes, that’s my understanding. Those things varied from time to time depending on who the commander is or how the provost marshall wants it.

Zarbock: I was just thinking, heavily armed men with really very powerful rifles walking around in the woods there.

Jones: No, I don’t think they were allowed rifles. I'm not sure of that, what type of firearms they allowed. They allowed shotguns I know.

Zarbock: Oh, okay.

Jones: But they have right much control over that. Whenever there are any dangers or heavily, I guess if you have a lot of explosives in one place or something, they won’t let the hunters go in those areas.

Zarbock: Tell me again, how many acres constitute the site.

Jones: 16,300 used to be when I was there. That includes the easement and the fee land. Initially there were 78 acres purchased on Highway 133 and 87. You know where B&I used to be?

Zarbock: Yes.

Jones: Sort of across from there, we had 78 acres that were purchased for the administrative area, but the first commander came in before the administrative area was built, Colonel Maciler, and he determined he wanted the administrative area on the site so they built it right inside the main gate.

Zarbock: And speaking of building, tell me again the fort next to the building that you’re in right now is where the commanding officer lives.

Jones: Yes.

Zarbock: The name of it is.

Jones: Fort Justin.

Zarbock: And it has been here since when?


Zarbock: It’s the oldest and smallest military fort did you say?

Jones: I didn’t say that, but it possibly could be.

Zarbock: And it’s only one building, isn’t it?

Jones: Yeah. There’s a building a couple of blocks down the street, a house, Dr. Fortney is there. I remodeled it for him last year. There was a hospital that was here.

Zarbock: Is that right? Anything else that you’d like to add.

Jones: Well I think I've skipped over the fact that Sunny Point and the Military Traffic Management Command is…Sunny Point is a multi-service terminal. It loads for the Army, Navy and the Air Force and it matters to the Department of Army, but we work for all the forces, it’s an AIF installation, Army Industrial Fund, as versus OMA which are fighting bases are like Fort Bragg. Different ones are supposed to reimburse, the Army reimburses when they load cargo and the Navy. There’s a lot of paperwork in here in the Air Force.

We did a lot of loading for the Air Force during Vietnam. There were two Air Force ships, well they were freighters, but when I say Air Force ships, being loaded with bombs for about 4-5 years continuously, 20 hours a day.

Zarbock: We’ve got a background. If you wouldn’t mind just turn around and see what’s going on here, that may be just a really fine way of coming to an end. Mr. Jones, thank you. The first time I met you, I enjoyed it and the second time I met you, I enjoyed it even more. Thank y ou very much.

Jones: Well I'm sorry I rambled around and I probably left out a lot of things that you may be interested in.

Zarbock: Well if it’s all right with you, then if you think of something, can we get back in touch with you.

Jones: Do it within the next 20 years because I might not be around much.

Zarbock: I don’t have that much time, sir (laughter).

Jones: Alright.

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