COVID-19 Impact on Marine Corps Activities and Base Access

This page will provide information and updates on the impact of COVID-19 on Marine Corps graduations, training, travel, etc. Keep in mind this information is changing fast and continuously. We will update each category on this page as soon as new updates are provided.

Please be aware, the Marine Corps doesn't have a road-map for the COVID-19 pandemic either, but they have to keep our troops safe. When the USMC provides answers and additional information, we will publish it on these pages of our website. Our take on this will be that the military will exercise more caution and keep civilians off the bases longer than what other populations and communities do in our country.

COVID-19 Impact on Marine Corps Activities and Base Access

COVID-19 Impact on USMC, Marines, and Family Members
INFORMATION IS UPDATED DAILY. BE SURE TO CHECK EACH DAY FOR NEW UPDATES.

April 5, 2020 Message from the Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps

OCS & TBS Updates

The Basic School has announced several updates via its Facebook page to include closures, gate hours, and the limited movement of TBS personnel. Service members are only authorized local leave and liberty for a 100 mile radius. Graduating Lieutenants with orders to Japan or Okinawa will have those orders cancelled with Japan designated as a Travel Health Notice Level 3. Graduates waiting to execute orders to MOS school will still execute those orders but leave enroute is not authorized. For more information, refer to the TBS Facebook page.

Pentagon Orders Bases to Not Release Specific Covid-19 Numbers

Due to OPSEC concerns, the Pentagon has ordered military bases to stop releasing specific Covid-19 numbers.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said last week, "What we want to do is give you aggregated numbers. But we're not going to disaggregate numbers because it could reveal information about where we may be affected at a higher rate than maybe some other places." As of Monday March 30, 569 active-duty service members, 220 civilian personnel, 190 family members, and 64 contractors have tested positive for Covid-19. For more information on the order from the Pentagon, click here.

From US Marine Corps

From Defense.gov Website

DOD Press Releases COVID-19

USO Airport Operations

Per the Department of Defense: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, all USO Airport locations in the United States will temporarily suspend operations until further notice in order to maintain safe environments and avoid unnecessary risks of exposure.

ALL Graduations

Effective March 13, 2020, the Secretary of Defense has provided direction that public attendance at graduation ceremonies and related activities is prohibited, with no exceptions. This is across the board, and includes all graduations: Recruit Training (boot camp), SOI, MCT, WAB, and OCS.

LIVE Graduations on Facebook

For graduations that will be held and shown LIVE, MarineParents.com will create a WATCH PARTY in that Facebook group to share the event with members. At this time, there are no graduations scheduled with a LIVE feed. If you are not a member of our Facebook groups, click here to join one of our groups. (NOTE: You must answer all three questions to be approved as a group member.)

LIVE Parris Island Graduations

MCRD Parris Island will livestream all graduations during this period, which will be available on www.facebook.com/parrisisland during livestream and on www.mcrdpi.marines.mil and www.dvidshub.net/unit/MCRD-PI after the conclusion of graduation.

Travel Restrictions

The purpose of the DOD imposed travel restrictions is to protect our fighting forces from contracting the Coronavirus during these uncertain times. Travel restrictions from the DOD are changing continually during the pandemic. Please see the red alert section above with a PDF file for travel FAQ from the DOD.

Additionally, see this page for press releases from the DOD on travel. We are updating this as often as the DOD sends out press releases.

Currently, there are some military bases that are closed to visitors. If you need to get on a military base, we recommend calling the visitor's office first to gain more clarity.

Regarding Leave

The DOD has imposed restrictions on travel, and LEAVE is no exception to those restrictions.

Announced by DOD at 10:15 PM March 13, to be effective Monday, March 16: military personnel travel for leave will be limited to the local area in which the service member is stationed.

If a Marine is on leave now, s/he is required to return to base as scheduled.

The 10-day leave for newly graduated Marines after boot camp has been suspended through May 11. New Marines will take military transport immediately following graduation to their next schooling, SOI (ITB or MCT).

For all other Marines who have leave scheduled, it will be changed to LOCAL LEAVE ONLY. The "local leave" area is defined within a certain radius of the Marine's duty station. As an example, during a 96-hour leave, it's a 450 mile radius (which is 225 miles in any direction from the base). This is a general rule of thumb as the radius is typically determined by the unit's commanding officer. It is very possible the radius for "local leave" during COVID-19 will change.

Financial Assistance

Service members may be financially impacted by the travel restrictions and closures due to coronavirus. Any service members affected should check with their service relief organization to see if emergency help is available to them. These relief organizations are:

Thank you Tracy, we very much appreciate this new information. You and your group do so much for us and now in these trying times we know you are there to support us and our Marines. Thank you for helping us be strong in these trying times. Gail, Marine Mom

Troops Returning Stateside

According to the Associated Press News (March 14, 2020), soldiers returning from Afghanistan to Fort Bragg have been quarantined for two weeks. The Army is proceeding with an abundance of caution, even though no soldiers in the unit or at Fort Bragg have tested positive for the virus. Similarly, a New York Times article (March 18, 2020) reports that the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan has become more complicated due to measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus.

Marine families expecting a loved-one to retrograde back to the states during the COVID-19 pandemic, can likely expect the Marine Corps to implement similar measures. We will keep you posted as we learn more.

Marine Rotation to Australia on Hold

Annually, a rotation of a couple thousand Marines takes place, but that is now on hold. An advanced party for 3rd Battalion 7th Marines is currently waiting in Okinawa and will remain there until a final decision is made. The advanced party was scheduled to arrive in Australia in April, with the rest of the Marines scheduled to arrive in the summer. The battalion will stay prepared and work towards the original timeline so they can better execute when a decision is made. Click here to read the full article.

Afghanistan Draw Down Slowed Due to Covid-19

The drawdown from Afghanistan is now being slowed due to COVID-19 and this could continue for several months. Some troops entering and exiting Afghanistan airfields are being quarantined for 14 days. In order to stop the spread of the virus, approximately 1,500 personnel, troops, and contractors arriving in Afghanistan in the past week are living in screening facilities. This is not because they are sick, but out of an abundance of caution. The ordered drawdown is still expected to be executed.

CAREER STAGES OF THE CORPS

The impact of COVID-19 restrictions will vary depending on the career stage of your poolee, recruit, or Marine. As a result, we've created different sections below for each career stage.

Recruit Training (Boot Camp)

To read more specifically about the impact of COVID-19 on Marine Corps boot camp training, visit our website http://www.RecruitParents.com/covid19-rp.asp

*** UPDATE: As of Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 9:39 AM, MCRD Parris Island has informed families of Charlie & Oscar 2 Company Marines that they may send a cell phone to their Marine beginning April 1. Please send them early this week if you choose to do so to ensure it arrives before they graduate and leave MCRD Parris Island. The Marines will not have unlimited access to their phones as they are still in a training environment. This is being allowed to ease the flow of communication as the new Marines transfer to SOI. MCRD Parris Island will continue to update their Facebook Page with notifications for when it is time for additional companies to have cell phones mailed.

Confirmed Cases at Parris Island

A spokesman at MCRD Parris Island has announced there are now several confirmed cases among drill instructors and recruits. Parris Island will not accept new recruits until at least mid-April. Parris Island will have a 14-day staging period while medical personnel monitors the new recruits to ensure they are healthy before they begin training. For more information read this article from military.com.

Recruits Will Not Ship March 30th

In a message to MCRD Parris Island from the Commanding General and Sergeant Major from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot/Eastern Recruiting Region, it was announced that new recruits will not ship to Parris Island on March 30th, as previously scheduled. They will use this time to expand the facilities available to screen incoming recruits and personnel, as well as care for those in quarantine and isolation. Click here to read the full message to Parris Island.

10-Day Leave

All Marines who graduated on or before March 13, 2020 are still expected to check in to SOI (ITB or MCT) by the designated date and time on their orders. Any Marines experiencing delays or changes to their travel that would affect their check in date need to contact the number listed on their orders.

Announced by USMC at 5:54 PM March 16, effective immediately Marine Corps entry-level training (boot camp) will temporarily suspend the standard 10-day leave period granted to new Marines following graduation from recruit training.

Following graduation, all new Marines will report to the appropriate School of Infantry via government provided transportation, where the next phase of their entry-level training will begin. Upon completion of that phase they will continue on to their assigned unit or additional formal training as required.

This policy is effective thru May 11, 2020, and will be reviewed based on conditions at that time.

Marine Parents Travel Assistance

Applications and processing applications for the MarineParents.com Travel Assistance Program (MPTA) to help families with financial need to attend graduations have been temporarily suspended. When the Secretary of Defense lifts the mandate for no public attendance at graduations, the program will resume. All donations received to date for graduations that have been impacted will be redirected to other companies for graduations when the situation resolves.

Additional Schooling (SOI/MCT/SOI)

To read more specifically about the impact of COVID-19 on SOI/MCT and MOS Schooling, visit our website http://www.WhatsAfterBoot.com/covid19-wab.asp

Marines in SOI/MCT or MOS Schooling

For Marines currently in schools such as SOI or MOS, plans are being formulated by the USMC now and decisions by the Marine Corps will be made in accordance with the current restricted travel regulations. Marines can likely expect some holding periods and wait times upon completion of SOI and MOS while the travel restrictions are in place.

In the FLEET

To read more specifically about the impact of COVID-19 on Marines in the Fleet, visit our website http://www.MarineParents.com/fleet/covid19-fleet.asp

SECDEF Issues Guidelines for Troops to Wear Masks

The Secretary of Defense announced, effective immediately, everyone on DoD property, installations, and facilities will wear face coverings when they are not able to maintain six feet distance from others. DoD will not issue face masks and individuals should make their own face coverings. These guidelines are for military personnel, DoD civilian employees, family members, DoD contractors, and everyone else on DoD property, installations, and facilities. For more information, read this article from Military Times.

Marines Can Apply for Service Extensions

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Marines who were scheduled to retire or separate from the Marine Corps can request for a service extension. This will help those affected to better prepare for the transition from military life amid all the confusion. This can help those Marines gain up to a month of time to plan and prepare. Deployed Marines who are stuck overseas can choose to extend through the fiscal year if their deployment return date gets pushed past the Marine's EAS date. Marines who are scheduled to retire can have their retirement date shifted within the fiscal year. For more information, click here.

ITX "Will not go in April"

A large scale training exercise for Marines, known as ITX, was originally believed to happen even amid concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 26, General Berger announced in a press conference that the decision had been made a "couple days ago" and ITX "will not go in April." The Commandant's statement on this matter happens around the 17:30 mark of the press conference.

Additionally, there will no longer be any travel to Twentynine Palms for training until further notice. All pre-deployment training will be conducted at the unit's home base. The Marine Corps will still train so they are prepared for the enemy while observing the guidelines set by the CDC and DoD.

After the Corps

To read more specifically about the impact of COVID-19 on Marines after getting out of the Marine Corps, visit our website http://www.AfterTheCorps.com/covid19-atc.asp

VA Accepting Care for all Veterans

Rich Stone, the Executive in Charge of the Veterans Health Administration has announced that the VA will see and treat any Veteran regardless if they are enrolled in the VA Health Care System or not. They only ask that you call first. To hear the full message, watch the video at the top of this page.

Coronavirus Bill Contains Relief for Veterans

The new Coronavirus Relief Bill contains nearly $20 billion for veterans. Nearly $16 billion will go to VA hospitals for treatment of veterans with Covid-19, overtime for staff, personal protective equipment, test kits and other resources. Another $3 billion will go to building, equipping, and staffing temporary hospitals, clinics and mobile treatment centers, and for remodeling existing facilities, including state-run veterans homes, to isolate and care for veterans with the highly contagious illness. Some of the funding will also go towards supporting the VA information technology networks due to the increase in telehealth services. There are also provisions that will help veterans get better access to high speed internet so they can do routine appointments as well as mental health appointments remotely. For more information, click here.

GI Bill Information

Congress has introduced legislation that would alleviate the impact for GI Bill beneficiaries who have to switch to distance education due to COVID-19. The VA is asking all schools to temporarily refrain from making any adjustments to enrollment certifications if training has changed due to COVID-19. For more information, please refer to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs official Facebook page.

Warrior Support Team Dinners Suspended

We've had to put a halt to our dinners served through our program the Warrior Support Team at Bethesda and Balboa. This is for the safety and well being of both the patients and our volunteers. However, our outreach continues by sending information and reintegration bags to those service members and veterans who need our help. To learn more about our reintegration bags, see http://warriorsupportteam.com/reintegration-bags.asp. To donate to the program, visit https://marineparentsinc.com/.

OPSEC AND COVID-19:
Reporting COVID-19 Testing and Results Among Military

As part of our POSTING RULE 2: OPSEC and PERSEC, discussion or speculation on the numbers of troops or location of troops being tested or having tested for COVID-19 will not be permitted. Posting COVID-19 testing results of military members will not be permitted. There are no exceptions to this rule.

For obvious reasons, specific information about the health of our military forces is a direct violation of OPSEC.

Stating information about any Marine or recruit, your own or otherwise, testing for COVID-19 as it relates to their job duties as a military member (whether the results are positive or negative) is a violation of PERSEC and will not be permitted. Discussions of COVID-19 within your family are permitted as long as you do not identify the individual and do not state military affiliation.

FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Monday, March 30, 2020: Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said in a statement on Monday "As we continue to grapple with the novel nature of COVID19, we are constantly assessing and adapting not only how we respond to combatting the virus, but also how we share critical public health information with our communities." Farah also said "We will not report the aggregate number of individual service member cases at individual unit, base or Combatant Commands. We will continue to do our best to balance transparency in this crisis with operational security."


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