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Marines separating or on special duty receive exemptions from stop movement order

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Alexandria Aglio, the career planner for Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, speaks to a Marine during the annual Manpower Management Enlisted Assignments Roadshow, MCBH, Aug. 20, 2019. The Marine Corps may change the way it holds selection boards to allow them to respect social distancing rules, which are key to fighting the coronavirus.

SAMANTHA SANCHEZ/U.S. MARINE CORPS

By IMMANUEL JOHNSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 27, 2020

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Marines who are leaving the service or on special duty assignments have been exempted from a far-reaching stop movement order issued by the Pentagon to help halt the spread of the coronavirus.

The stop movement order bars international travel, including permanent changes of station, temporary duty assignments and leave. It took effect Wednesday and runs through May 24.

The exemption was issued in a Marine administrative memo Thursday. It includes recruiters, drill instructors, combat instructors, security forces and others in commands that “fill a vital need,” a Marine spokesman said in a statement Friday.

Meanwhile, Marines who are due to leave the Corps this fiscal year — which ends in September — but haven’t met all the transition requirements, which include obtaining their medical and dental records and conducting a final interview with their career planner and commander, may request an extension from their local career planner, a separate administrative message issued March 17 said.

“The extension is to help Marines complete the transition readiness seminar and all other requirements,” said Sgt. Jorge RiberaPedraza, a career planner for Marine Aircraft Group 49.

The Marine Corps is also considering making changes that would affect selection boards in light of the coronavirus.

The format could be modified to allow for social distancing, an essential tool against coronavirus, which in some cases causes severe lung illness and death.

“Instead of ... everybody being in one room staring at a computer screen, discussing one Marine at a time, we’re now looking at ... is it possible to spread (the board) across two or three rooms electronically with video teleconference capability?” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said at a news conference Thursday at the Pentagon.

Social distancing guidelines call for people to stay at least 6 feet away from each other to prevent the spread of the virus.

As of Thursday, 44 Marines had tested positive for the virus, said acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly. Many staff have been directed to remain home and telework if they are able to, Modly said.

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