Standing in front of the new Entry Control Point (ECP) at Naval Weapons Station Earle Commanding Officer Capt. Fuzz Harrison said it was a far cry from what the base has had in the past and will serve the sailors well in the future.
Capt. Harrison said that while security has always been an important part of the base, the new structure took that to a new level especially after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. "Throughout the military there was an immediate emphasis on security of installations and in particular security of installations that take care of sensitive stuff like ordinance here at Weapons Station Earle," he said.
For 10 years he said security officers worked in a temporary tent with the prospect of a more permanent structure hanging in front of them. "Our fine security force was out in the elements and if you talk to any of the sailors that stood guard at the main ECP particularly in the winter time it was a tough job," he said.
One of the biggest challenges during the construction of the ECP was keeping the entrance functional and secure while the new building was being constructed. "If you don't think that was a trick just ask many of the folks around here and they'll tell you how difficult a job that is," Capt. Harrison said.
There were several dignitaries in attendance at Thursday's event including Rep. Chris Smith and Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian G. Burry as well as Colts Neck Committeeman Russell Macnow.
Smith said the building was an important step for the base. "It means it's safer," he said. "It means they have all of the state of the art world class capabilities to detect and interdict any effort to breach the base."
The Congressman said keeping the base secure is important not only for the men and women who serve there, but also the community as a whole. "This is such a vital link between our ability to carry on a war or to preserve the peace by deterring a war that you don't want to in any way have this compromised."
Macnow said he was also glad to see the work completed for the base and the township. "It's a proud representation of what our United States Navy and what our government stand for," he said. "As part of Colts Neck it makes Colts Neck a more pleasing place to be. Any time you can improve your military installations from a security perspective and an aesthetic perspective it's a win-win, especially for the people here in Colts Neck."
Freeholder Burry, who served as the Mayor of Colts Neck during the Sept. 11 attacks said security has been an important part of the base and the township since that time. "I'm very conscious of security and what it means not only to my community in Colts Neck, but also to the entire county of Monmouth," she said. "It is a very meaningful step that here, a highly sensitive area such as this ammunition depot is secure."