With uncertain future, officials say they are looking ‘at all options’ for Parris Island
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - For 105 years, Marines have gone through boot camp at Marines Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island in Beaufort County.
South Carolina lawmakers hope this tradition continues.
Governor Henry McMaster sat down with military leaders from across the state Thursday in downtown Columbia. One of the first topics they discussed was the future of Parris Island.
Last month, reports emerged that the Marine Corps is considering closing down the base.
After the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was signed into law, the Marine Corps was given the task to make sure they are training men and women in the same platoon.
Marines go through boot camp at either Parris Island or a base in San Diego. Right now, only male recruits are trained in San Diego. Male and female recruits are trained at Parris Island but in different battalions.
“Are we looking at all options? Absolutely,” Headquarters and Service Battalion Commanding Officer Colonel Riccoh Player told the governor. “It would be too early to say this is exactly what we are going to do.”
The federal government is giving the Marine Corps until 2025 to integrate training at Parris Island.
“The National Defense Authorization Act has specific timelines and things the Marine Corps must accomplish and we’re aiming towards that,” Col. Player said.
With all options on the table, the Marine Corps announced it is exploring the possibility of closing both Paris Island and the installation in San Diego to open one new training station where both male and female recruits could train.
No decisions have been made just yet, Col. Player said. Gov. McMaster said with female recruits already training at Parris Island, it wouldn’t make sense to close the base.
“It seems to clear to me Parris Island has all the advantages and none of the disadvantages if that decision is made to pick one or the other,” he said.
He said his office and the General Assembly are willing to do whatever they can to help keep Parris Island open.
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