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Strange Lights Sighted Over Neuse
Readers question and answer
September 19, 2019

S
kies around Oriental can be pretty busy. Coastal Carolina Regional Airport is nearby and so is Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. Bombing Targets 9 (in the Neuse River) and 11 (Piney Island) are also nearby.

Wednesday night, September 18, a reader noticed something a little different. Steve Elbert writes in:

Last evening about 7:30 we noticed what appeared to be a formation of lights that were located east of Oriental. We live on Smith Creek and the lights seemed to be north of the water tower and maybe over Straight and White Farm roads. I am wondering if anyone else noticed them and if you did.

Strange Lights
Lights over Smith Creek.

Sam Myers writes in with an answer to the lights-in-the-sky question.

Those lights are long-burning parachute flares used to light up the ranges at BT-11 & BT-9. When I first saw them some years ago I was concerned that they might be signaling a boat in distress. I called the Coasties at Hobucken who set me straight.

Diann Landow sent in another shot of last evening’s lights with this:

We saw the lights last night from Maribel / Bay River looking east. We noticed 2 separate drops of flares about 10 minutes apart at approximately 7:30 pm. Assumed military operation from the sky out over the sound. Our assumption was that military was illuminating an area.

Strange Lights
Another view: from Maribel/Bay River.

Captain John Rahm, formerly Colonel John Rahm, USMC (ret.), also responded.

Please enjoy the attached. We used these a lot in my previous life. Makes it easier to find the bad guys.
Have a look at the fact sheet about parachute flares from Northrup Grumman.

Stay away from the bombing targets, kids. They’re best observed from a comfy dock along the creek.

Posted Thursday September 19, 2019 by Allison DeWeese


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