- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 27, 2020

The possibility that the Marine Corps may close one of its most iconic bases and shift recruits to a new location for gender-integrated training has caused a backlash among legislators in the nation’s capital.

If money is the issue, Sen. Lindsey Graham said the Marine Corps could save funds by “getting rid” of those who think closing the Parris Island Recruit Depot in South Carolina is a good option.

“It ain’t gonna happen,” Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican, tweeted. “Anyone in the Navy or Marine Corps thinking about closing Parris Island has limited growth potential.”

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger told Military.com that Parris Island and the service’s West Coast base in San Diego currently aren’t able to accomplish the mission of integrated recruit training, as was mandated under the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. He wondered whether dedicating funds to a new facility was preferable than spending money on the two existing bases.

“Nothing, the way we’re organized right now, lends itself to integrated recruit training,” Gen. Berger said, according to Military.com.



Parris Island became a Marine Corps recruit depot in 1915 and has a storied history with the military.

It also is a major economic driver in South Carolina. Republicans and Democrats in that state have voiced support for keeping the base.

Sen. Tim Scott said he was confident Parris Island won’t shutter its gates. In a statement, the South Carolina Republican said the base is the beating heart of the Marine Corps.

“I am confident that as they review plans for consolidated training, the Marine Corps will determine that Parris Island makes the most sense both financially and logically to train Marines for decades to come,” Mr. Scott said.

Rep. Joe Cunningham, a Democrat whose district includes the base, said he will “fight like hell to keep Parris Island.”

“Our Lowcountry military bases are so important to our culture, economy and national security. That’s why I fought to pass an amendment to protect them from” base realignment, Mr. Cunningham tweeted, referring to the region along the state’s coast, including the Sea Islands.

Rep. Joe Wilson, a Republican, called the news about the possible base-closure “alarming and disappointing.”

“Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island is a treasure to the people of South Carolina and holds economic and military importance for our state and country,” said Mr. Wilson, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. “The unique value of the base and facilities at Parris Island cannot be replicated.”

 

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