New Marines won't go home after boot camp as coronavirus precaution, Parris Island says

Marine Corps recruits gather at Recruit Depot Parris Island in this file photo.


By STEPHEN FASTENAU | The Island Packet | Published: March 18, 2020

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HILTON HEAD, S.C. (Tribune News Service) — New Marines won’t go home after boot camp at Parris Island as a coronavirus precaution.

The 10-day leave following graduation from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island has been suspended through at least May 11, the base announced. Marines will instead report directly to their next stop to continue training.

“While we understand this is challenging for new Marines and their families, this policy protects Marines, their families, Civilian Marines, and the community at-large from additional exposure,” Marine Capt. Bryan McDonnell said in the statement.

Recruit training is continuing with no plans to suspend it as of Tuesday afternoon, McDonnell said. He said the base had taken steps to “harden our health protection posture against the impacts of COVID-19.”

The announcement suspending leave follows a decision to close graduation ceremonies to the public and suspend family activities. Graduation events will be streamed live on Parris Island’s Facebook page during the ceremony and the video will be available later on the Depot’s website.

The policy will be reviewed again after May 11. Marines will be able to use the 10-day leave at a later time.

Leave changed are part of larger travel restrictions from the Pentagon to limit the spread of COVID-19. Domestic travel, including permanent change of station and temporary duty orders, has been stopped except for “mission-essential” exceptions.

Civilian hiring has also been paused at military bases for candidates outside the local area.

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