July Meeting — “Sunny Point” and the Buffer Zone

Monday, July 15, 2019   7:30 PM

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, July 15, 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

What exactly is “Sunny Point?”  Why do we have a “Buffer Zone?”

A member of the US Army Command Staff at the Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point (MOTSU) will join us to talk about the major international port that lies quietly across the Cape Fear River in Brunswick County.

Questions will also be answered about what the Buffer Zone does on this side of the river.

The 16,000 acre (25 sq. mile) facility is bordered on both the east and south by the Cape Fear River and on the west by South East River Road. The northern border of Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point is marked by Orton Pond and the Brunswick Town State Historic Site, a major pre Revolutionary War era colonial port. The topography of the installation is heavily wooded and removed from populous urban areas. The base has several bodies of water within its borders including Governors Creek, Fishing Creek, the Cape Fear River and several small ponds. The coastal area of North Carolina where MOTSU is located, is classified as humid subtropical and generally experiences year round warm weather. The coast is prone to flooding with storm surges and is occasionally battered by Atlantic storms and hurricanes.

The area around Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point has been used as a strategic shipping and military hub since 1725 when then colonial governor, George Burrington, operated a plantation and small dock on the Cape Fear River.

In the pre-Revolutionary War era, the coastal area was used as a strategic point for British troops and merchants and then by Colonial forces. During the Civil War, the area served as a Confederate artillery battery protecting the Cape Fear River from Union naval forces. During this time its potential as an ammunition transportation point was realized due to its remote location, deep water, ocean access and predictable tides.

The Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point as it exists today, was established in 1955 by the Department of The Army. In every armed conflict since its creation MOTSU has played a role in supporting deployed units. During the Gulf War operations of Desert Shield, Desert Sortie and Desert Storm the Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point was tasked with handling over 90% of the resupply munitions for US forces. This task included everything from small arms ammunition up to 750 pound M 117 bombs.

The primary mission of the Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point to be the key ammunition shipping point on the Atlantic coast for United States forces worldwide.

Under command of the 1303rd Major Port Command and 596th Transportation Brigade, the Sunny Point Terminal is tasked with storing and shipping Department of Defense ammunition, dangerous cargo and explosives including but not limited to, small arms ammunition, artillery shells fuses and propellants, ammunition for vehicle systems and aircraft bombs and ammunition. The Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point is the only facility in the Department of Defense network that is equipped for and authorized to handle containerized ammunition.

The Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point is the largest military terminal anywhere in the world and can handle up to six ships simultaneously in its docks. The facility incorporates a network of railroad tracks covering 62 miles to move munitions across the area. The transportation infrastructure of Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point allows it to seamlessly transfer munitions between trucks, rails and ships.

In addition to serving as a munitions transfer point the Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point supports the 82nd Airborne Division of Fort Bragg North Carolina. In the event of rapid deployment, which the 82nd Airborne is designed for, Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point handles transportation of all its equipment and supplies. The command of Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point is also responsible for supervising the deployment of joint forces through the North Carolina State civilian ports of Morehead City and Wilmington.


President’s Letter – July, 2019

By Elaine Henson

Kure Memorial Lutheran Church Part III

In 1953, the growing congregation began planning for a new church building to replace the barracks church.  Their first full time pastor, Rev. David Johnson, had a background in building design and construction, so he took a lead role in planning the new church. He designed a traditional cruciform, cross-shaped, floor plan and building with modern low lines, a Roman brick exterior and contemporary windows. Interior walls would be masonry painted concrete block.  The roof was to be supported with arches and purlins laminated on the job from three quarter inch Douglas fir timbers.

Everything was put on hold until after clean up from Hurricane Hazel, which came ashore on October 15, 1954. Hazel is the only Category Four Hurricane to hit our area in all of the 20th Century to date. It came in on a lunar high tide, wreaking havoc and leaving much devastation.

On February 6, 1955, groundbreaking ceremonies were held with Dr. F. L. Conrad, President of the North Carolina Synod.  Assisting him were Mrs. Ernest Lineberger of the United Lutheran Church Women and Miss Judy Lewis from the Kure’s Luther League.  The barracks church was moved to the back of the lot and they laid out the foundation.

Again, the men of the church were the volunteer labor.  The only paid full time worker was Bob Ford as Construction Supervisor with Rev. Johnson acting as advisor. Construction went quickly and soon cranes were lifting the arches and purlins into place.

Next: Kure Memorial Lutheran Church, Part IV

Fort Fisher State Historic Site — Summer, 2019 Events

Friday, July 12, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm: Junior Reserves — ‘Attention Cannoneers’ a kid-friendly family activity in which participants learn about Civil War artillery and the skills needed to protect blockade runners. Using the site’s 12-pound bronze Napoleon field piece, costumed interpreters will be on hand to explain the field artillery drill.

Saturday, July 13, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm: Beat the Heat Summer Lecture Series “Running the Blockade: The Technology and the men of the Lifeline of the Confederacy” as presented by noted historian, author, and Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at UNC Wilmington, Dr. Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr.

Friday, July 19, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm: Junior Reserves – “Archaeology: Digging through the Past,” a kid-friendly family event, designed to introduce young participants to basic archaeology techniques with emphasis on the fun–and reward–of digging in the dirt. Explore the history of Fort Fisher through educational and hands-on activities that convey the history of Fort Fisher.

Saturday, July 20, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm: Beat the Heat Summer Lecture Series – “Federal Point Lighthouses” as presented by Fort Fisher interpreter, Becky Sawyer. By the late 18th century, the residents of the Lower Cape Fear River petitioned Congress for a needed navigational marker to assist ships entering New Inlet. For the next 100 years, a navigational lighted beacon was used on the tip of Federal Point to help these ships traverse the channel of New Inlet.

Friday, July 26, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm: Junior Reserves – “Art of the Sailor.” Participants will see how rope played a vital role in the life of a Civil War sailor, as it was used to anchor the ship, control sails, moor the vessel, and hoist materials on board. Come have some fun and learn some basic knots and other secrets of the Civil War sailor.

Saturday, July 27, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm: Beat the Heat Summer Lecture Series – “Tending to the Soldiers: Wilmington’s Civil War Hospitals,” as presented by noted historian and author, Wade Sokolosky. During the Civil War, soldiers on garrison duty and wounded from southern battlefields arrived in Wilmington for treatment. Spread throughout the Port City were numerous general military hospitals and wayside hospitals near the railroads.

Friday, August 2, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm: Junior Reserves – “Secret Codes and Ciphers,” a kid-friendly family activity. Ensuring your message reached its intended recipient accurately often meant the difference between victory or defeat. Today, we encrypt information to protect it from harm. Learn the encryption tools used during the 1860s and encrypt your own messages using codes and cipher disks that you can take home for domestic communication.

 Saturday, August 3, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm: Beat the Heat Summer Lecture Series — “Timothy O’Sullivan and the Photographing of Fort Fisher.” In February 1865, photographer Timothy O’Sullivan was sent to Fort Fisher to record the massive fortification. He created a photographic record of the earthworks and remnants of the January 15th battle. Join us as local photographer, Harry Taylor, discusses Timothy O’Sullivan and the wet plate photography process.

Friday, August 9, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm: Junior Reserves – “Civil War Communications,” a kid-friendly family activity. How did Civil War units send messages over large distances without texting or cell phones? During the Civil War, both sides used the same signaling system called ‘Wig-Wag’ for its movement of a flag. Learn to send the 1860s version of text messages by flag.

Saturday, August 10, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm: Beat the Heat Summer Lecture Series — “Attempting to Stop Sherman: The Battle of River’s Bridge, SC,” as presented by Mr. Jim Steele, site manager of Fort Fisher State Historic Site. In February, 1865, Confederate forces in South Carolina attempted to stop the Federal Army marching to Columbia.

Society Notes – July 2019

by Darlene Bright

We’re doing it again this Summer!

Guided Tour

Historic Carolina Beach Boardwalk

10 am every Tuesday!

June 18, 2019 – September 3, 2019

 50 minutes walking tour



At the July Meeting we will vote on the slate of Officers and Directors for the 2019-2020 Year.

Nominated: President — Elaine Henson, Vice President — Lauren Gibbs, Secretary — unfilled, Treasurer-Eddie Capel.

Board Members for 2019-2021 – John Moseley, Byron Moore, Brenda Coffey, Jay Winner.

  • The History Center recorded 79 visitors in June. There were 35 people at the June potluck.
  • The History Center was used by the Got-Em-On Live Bait Club.
  • Welcome to new members Albert and Susan Barbee of Carolina Beach.
  • Thanks to Ted and Mary Ann Targonski for taking the recyclable cans and bottles after each meeting.
  • Thanks to Jim Kohler for helping with the June Newsletter.
  • Thank you to Brandon Debnam for helping with the first Boardwalk Tour.
  • WE STILL NEED PEOPLE TO LEAD (and help lead) THE BOARDWALK TOURS. Call Cheri if you can take a Tuesday or two.