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MCRD Parris Island visit the base for ‘Safe Haven’

By 2nd Lt. Kyle Thomas | | May 20, 2010

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Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., staff visited Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany May 11 and 12 to review the Safe Haven Memorandum of Agreement.

The MOA is the official agreement between the two installations in case MCRD Parris Island has to evacuate its recruits to MCLB Albany in the event of destructive weather.

“The MOA is an agreement between MCRD Parris Island and MCLB Albany in regards to providing billeting, messing and classroom space for Parris Island recruits in the event of a hurricane,” said Bob James, deputy director, Operations and Training Division, MCLB Albany.

Although the MOA is well established, there are discussions to add a plan in case MCRD Parris Island were to receive catastrophic damage due to a hurricane. 

In that case, recruits would have to stay at MCLB Albany much longer than a few days, which is what the current MOA focuses on.  

The MCRD Parris Island staff refers to this new plan as the Continuity of Operations.

The COOP, if it is agreed upon, would go into effect if a hurricane  caused catastrophic damage to the depot.

If this were to happen, MCRD Parris Island staff will be forced to complete training requirements here in order for the recruits to graduate.

If MCLB Albany agrees to the COOP, housing the recruits becomes more challenging.

Training requirements such as the obstacle course, physical fitness test and swim and rifle qualifications will have to be completed.

This means recruits will spend the first phase of basic training here.

The two weeks that comprise their rifle qualification training will be competed at Joint Training Center Camp Blanding, Fla.

After the recruits meet this requirement they will return to MCLB Albany to complete their training, said Maj. Martin C. Steimle, G-3 operations officer, MCRD Parris Island.

It is important to note that COOP is not yet a part of the MOA.

Regimental and battalion staff from MCRD Parris Island started the review at the base restaurant by briefing the possible contingency plans listed in the MOA.

Kent Morrison, executive director, MCLB Albany, provided the opening remarks.

“We are not here to rewrite the plan. It’s a good plan, and I have worked with this plan for the past 12 years; both as an active duty Marine and as a civilian,” Morrison said.

Following Morrison was Col. Eric M. Mellinger, commanding officer, Recruit Training Regiment, MCRD Parris Island.

“We’ve come here; we’ve looked at the pool and looked at other ways that we can fulfill training objectives; however, what it comes down to is safety and accountability. The training comes after that,” Palmer said. “Worst case scenario is we will have 10,000 recruits and about  800 permanent personnel. In any case, our drill instructors will make it happen.”

The staff toured locations around MCLB Albany including Building 1121 and other warehouses to gain an understanding of the type of space that is available in the event that they would need it.

However, MCLB Albany leadership cannot guarantee which warehouses will specifically be available in the case of an evacuation.

This is due to Marine Corps Logistics Command supporting operations overseas.

“One day the warehouse can be empty, and the next day it can be full. We support LOGCOM and they support the mission, but we can provide space,” Morrison said.

The Safe Haven MOA is an annual meeting that has been held aboard MCLB Albany for the past 12 years.

Due to the recurring weather threat during hurricane season it is a possibility that MCRD Parris Island will have to execute this plan in the near future.


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