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Marine recruits board buses Oct. 11 for Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., after nearly a week of being displaced due to Hurricane Matthew.

Photo by Nathan Hanks

Base becomes training ground for next generation of Marines

12 Oct 2016 | Nathan Hanks Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

Boots hitting the pavement, drill instructors bellowing, snaps and pops of recruits handling weapons during drill and other sounds of recruit training can no longer be heard from recruits aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.

The more than 6,000 recruits and permanent personnel from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, that escaped Hurricane Matthew, returned to their training depot, Oct. 9-10.

Col. James C. Carroll III, commanding officer, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, said it was motivation having “our warriors and soon-to-be fellow warriors” aboard the installation.

“It was inspirational to know that we had a hand in making the next generation of Marines here at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany,” Carroll said. “Our goal was to make them comfortable and ready to continue the training they needed to stay on pace for graduation.”

Preparation and coordination is key to making this type of evacuation successful, he stressed. 

“A team from Parris Island visits MCLB Albany each year to go through what we witnessed throughout this week,” Carroll said. “Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s facilities are conducive for (events such as this) and we are far enough away from the coastline, which makes our (base) suitable to continue the training (for recruits).

“The majority of the infrastructure and facilities were already in place for our fellow warriors,” Carroll added. “By and large, we are self-sufficient and that made the training much better once they arrived.”

Col. Edward Jeep, commanding officer, Headquarters and Service Battalion, MCRD, PISC, credited MCLB Albany and its largest tenant, Marine Corps Logistics Command, for their preparation, cooperation and support.

“(Marine Corps Logistics Base) Albany and (Marine Corps Logistics Command) leaned forward into emptying out the industrial areas for the recruits to get into before we even pushed the button to evacuate,” Jeep said. “By them doing that, when we arrived, they were already ready for us, which made this a very smooth and easy transition for the recruits.”

Six thousand recruits is a lot to get in place rapidly at one time, so with their attention to detail, they made it happen, Jeep said.

“The best possible outcome of a bad situation is what we achieved,” he added. “It was a class act from the start from (MCLB Albany) and LOGCOM through our final retrograde. It’s been great to be here and we have achieved frankly a lot more training that we thought we would be able to.

“It's good to have a place to stay, eat and even better to have friends and family, which is what I have felt like being here in Albany,” he said. “It's truly a special bond between the recruit depot and MCLB Albany. They left no stone unturned to make us feel welcome and from all of us, they have a special place in our hearts.” 

Jeep said they were eager to return and get the Marines and recruits back home and do what needs to be done there. 

“On behalf of Brigadier General (Austin E.) Renforth, commanding general, (MCRD) Parris Island, I want to thank the numerous civilian and community organizations who wanted to help and give donations to us,” he said. “We were unable to accept them because we were not sure how long we were going to be here or how I would be able to account for them, but thank you for your thoughts, prayers and thinking of us during our stay.”

As the last recruit boarded the bus for Parris Island, South Carolina, so did the sounds of Marine Corps recruit training.

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