North Carolina state senator with Army National Guard trains in California during earthquakes

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (WTVD) -- It's been a busier-than-expected two weeks at Fort Irwin for Jeff Jackson.

"My first time ever experiencing an earthquake was here--and my second time ever experiencing an earthquake was here," said Jackson, a Captain with the Army National Guard and a state senator representing Mecklenburg County, NC.

Jackson is with a team of National Guardsmen from North Carolina training in the Mojave Desert. On Wednesday, he was on-base when they felt the first earthquake, which was a 6.4 magnitude quake.

"We've got a lot of tanks rolling around here, and I just sort of assumed there was a tank rolling by," Jackson said, adding it lasted about thirty seconds.

Two days later, another earthquake hit the state, this once registering a 7.1 magnitude, which was felt as far away as Las Vegas and Mexico.

The earthquakes and corresponding tremors have caused cracked buildings, road damage, and power outages.

Jackson says the base is in an isolated area and everyone is safe. However, the images of damage that have garnered national attention have also led concerned loved ones in North Carolina to reach out to Jackson.

"There's soldiers here who aren't able frankly to get in touch with folks back home like I am, because they're doing training way out in the desert where you don't get a cell phone signal. So I've been able to provide some updates to some family members back home just to let everybody know that everything's okay. We're fine," explained Jackson.

He has kept people updated on their experiences through social media.

"You can see in the comments under some of my updates, It's a lot of people saying, you know, 'I have a husband there,' 'I have a wife there,' which feels good. It's like a constituent service almost," Jackson said.

There have been no reported major injuries from either of the major earthquakes. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has requested President Trump to issue an emergency declaration so the state can receive federal aid.

Incoming troops are now being briefed on the earthquakes, though Jackson said he is unaware of any damage on the base.

This is Jackson's second time at Fort Irwin; he was first on-base before deploying to Afghanistan.
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