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At China Lake Naval base, price tag nears $4 billion for Ridgecrest earthquake repairs

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OICC China Lake Facebook page
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OICC China Lake Commanding Officer Captain Laurie Scott spoke during a groundbreaking ceremony for earthquake-related repairs at the Warhead Casing Operations facility at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake on April 20, 2022.

The 2019 quakes left Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake only partially mission capable.

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OICC China Lake
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Navy Captain Laurie Scott

Over Fourth of July weekend 2019, the area around Ridgecrest in the Mojave Desert portion of Kern County was jolted by two huge earthquakes of magnitude 6.4 and 7.1. Particularly ravaged was the nearby Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, which was estimated to have sustained billions of dollars’ worth of damage. The base, which at 20,000 square miles is the Navy’s single largest land holding in the U.S., develops and tests weapons and aircraft.

Now, almost three years later, the base has broken ground on most of the major repairs needed to return to full capabilities, including the rebuilding of hangars, an air traffic control tower, and laboratory facilities. To learn more about these repairs, KVPR’s Kerry Klein spoke with Navy Captain Laurie Scott. He’s the commanding officer of OICC China Lake, the agency that’s responsible for $2.7 billion of the construction projects.