MCLB Albany, MCRD Parris Island plan for catastrophic weather

22 Jul 2010 | 2nd Lt. Kyle Thomas, Public Affairs Officer

Catastrophic weather often presents itself as a formidable enemy to military training and operations.

For this reason, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany is currently drafting the Memorandum of Agreement between Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., and the base.

Although the agreement is not yet complete, the draft provides insight as to how MCLB Albany will support Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island if the recruit depot finds itself in a position to conduct continuity of operations.

“A continuity of operations is nothing more than developing a plan to ensure a base or command has thought about and developed processes and procedures to enable them to continue essential functions when confronted with natural or manmade disasters,” said Bob James, deputy director, Operations and Training Division, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.

If MCRD Parris Island were to take such catastrophic damage it would need an alternate training facility to carry out its function of training new Marines. According to the MOA, MCLB Albany would serve as the alternative facility.

However, there is one training facility that MCLB Albany lacks.

“Of course, we do not have a rifle range,” James said. “For that, they will go to Camp Banding, which is a National Guard base in Florida. Once they received that training requirement they will come back here to meet the rest of their graduation requirements.”

Marine Corps graduation requirements are extensive. Recruits have physical training requirements which would occupy numerous portions of the base, including the obstacle course and physical fitness training course. Portions of the base will also be open to the recruits for drill and ceremony, another fundamental training requirement.

Recruits will also have to complete their swimming qualifications, a crucial requirement considering the Marine Corps’ role as an amphibious force. This means that MCRD Parris Island will be granted “unlimited” use of the base pool, according to the draft MOA.

Training requirements are not the only needs that the base will have to meet. Logistical support will also be critical including transportation, medical, sewage, running water and electrical power, according to the draft MOA.

Actualizing these requirements would rely on a joint effort with many of the tenant organizations on base including the motor pool, Naval Branch Health Clinic and Headquarters Battalion.

“It would have a drastic impact on the base but in a positive manner,” said Kent Morrison, executive director, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. “However, it would not, in one bit, affect our abilities to support our tenants and it will not impede our tenants’ missions, and it will not impede on us fulfilling our mission. It some ways it will have a large impact and in some ways it will not. The COOP is designed to be a self sustaining operation through Parris Island with minimal support from us.”

Other listed requirements include the base theater for classroom instruction.

Although this particular MOA is not finished, MCLB Albany and MCRD Parris Island have a separate MOA that is already in place. The Safe Haven Plan, unlike the COOP, is a short-term contingency in the event that destructive weather delays training at the recruit depot. They may be separate memorandums; however, the COOP is designed to work in tandem with the Safe Haven Plan.

Regardless of how much damage MCRD Parris Island incurs, whether temporary or catastrophic, both bases will execute the Safe Haven Plan regardless. It is after this plan is executed that MCRD Parris Island leadership will decide whether or not to enact the COOP or head back to their original training area.

Although representatives from both Marine Corps Installations East as well as MCRD Parris Island met with MCLB Albany leadership to discuss nuances in the draft, there is still work to do. Now that the first draft has been completed, those representatives will have to give their approval before it is considered final.

“We will go back and make sure that we clarify the language,” James said. “We want to make sure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities in case we have to execute.”

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany