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Marines, recruits will be housed at The Citadel

4 mins read

By Mike McCombs

The U.S. Marine Corps announced Tuesday afternoon that beginning Monday, May 4, recruits, instead of shipping to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, will travel directly to The Citadel in Charleston and will complete their 14-day staging period on campus.

The change in destination was announced on MCRD Parris Island’s Facebook page.

While in staging, recruits will be screened and observed by medical staff twice daily for the duration of the two-week period, according to the release. Approximately 600 personnel and 300 recruits will be housed at The Citadel.

According to the release, the movement of personnel will be restricted to campus grounds as a preventative measure to reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus.

Following the two-week staging period, recruits will then be transported to MCRD Parris Island to  begin training.

According to the Facebook post, the ability to conduct staging of recruits in hard structure berthing, as well as on-site laundry, infirmary, and mess facilities, led MCRD Parris Island to a temporary partnership with The Citadel.

As an additional measure against COVID-19, the Marine Corps implemented the 14-day staging period for every recruit arriving to Marine Corps Recruit Depots Parris Island and San Diego. Staging is one part of MCRD Parris Island’s mitigation efforts being employed at recruit training to combat COVID-19.

A source had previously told The Island News that Parris Island and San Diego would alternate taking in classes for their staging periods instead of receiving shipments of recruits simultaneously.

MCRD Parris Island received its first class of recruits since shipments were stopped March 31 on Monday, April 20 at what the release calls an Expeditionary Staging Area constructed aboard the depot.

According to sources, both MCRD Parris Island and MCAS Beaufort have been constructing “tent cities” to house Marines while infected Marines were housed in permanent structures, particularly on Parris Island.

Sources have told The Island News that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases on Parris Island has reached triple digits despite the fact that numbers released by South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) don’t reflect that level of infection.

Ironically, as Parris Island is shipping staff and recruits off the depot, the civilians that work on the base are returning. Marine Corps Community Services, the largest civilian contractor at MCAS Beaufort or MCRD Parris Island, returned to full staff on Monday, April 27 after being at essential personnel only.

In a letter to employees, South Carolina’s MCCS Director Jack Snider tried to reassure those returning to work that every precaution was being taken to protect them.

“I would like to reassure you that this decision was not made without taking the safety and well-being of our employees into consideration,” Snider wrote.

Ironically, while recruits that were shipped to Parris Island were tested for COVID-19 immediately upon arrival, MCCS employees are not being tested as a prerequisite for returning to work on the depot or the air station.

McMaster extends state of emergency

S.C. Governor Henry McMaster on Monday extended the COVID-19 state of emergency executive orders for an additional 15 days.

With the extension of the executive orders, Governor McMaster’s previous coronavirus (COVID-19) mandates remain in effect: non-essential businesses must remain closed and Section 16-7-10 of the South Carolina Code of Laws “illegal acts under state of emergency” will continue to be enforced.

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