Marine Corps – The Citadel Today Mon, 25 Oct 2021 20:34:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Marine Corps – The Citadel Today 32 32 144096890 The Citadel unveils portrait of Col. Myron Harrington Mon, 25 Oct 2021 20:34:49 +0000 The newest portrait in The Citadel’s Distinguished Alumni gallery is now on display, honoring a lifetime of service.]]>

Photo: Col. Myron Harrington Jr., USMC (Ret.), ’60, speaking at the unveiling of his portrait

The newest portrait in The Citadel’s Distinguished Alumni gallery is now on display in Daniel Library, honoring a lifetime of service to both the nation and the college.

On Saturday, Oct. 23, the portrait of Col. Myron Harrington, USMC (Ret.), ’60, was unveiled in front of a crowd which included Harrington and his family, members of the Class of 1960, current and former members of the Board of Visitors (BOV), the college administration, and many others from The Citadel family.

“I am humbled by my inclusion to the portrait collection of Distinguished Alumni and Past Board Chairs,” said Harrington. “I thank my fellow Board members and everyone from The Citadel who helped make this happen.”

The Distinguished Citadel Alumni List is an extremely prestigious award, reserved for a very select group of alumni who have demonstrated extraordinary achievement as a single act, or the cumulative effect of a series of significant acts over time, or having held a nationally, regionally, or locally recognizable and prominent position of unique and great responsibility

Harrington has served his alma mater in numerous capacities for decades, including on the BOV as secretary, general board member, vice chair and, most recently, chair until his term ended on July 1, 2021.

“It was my honor to accept Col. Harrington’s portrait on behalf of the college,” said The Citadel President Gen. Glenn Walters, USMC (Ret.), ’79. “Future cadets observing his portrait will, I hope, emulate his lifetime of selfless service to his nation, community and The Citadel.”

Harrington served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps for 30 years. He was awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism on Feb 23, 1968, while serving as commanding officer for Delta Company, First Battalion, Fifth Marines during the Battle of Hué, as part of the Tet Offensive in the Republic of Vietnam.

After retiring from the Marine Corps, Harrington — who graduated from The Citadel with a degree in History — served in independent school education for which he earned numerous awards.

Col. Harrington’s other military commendations include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit with two Gold Stars, Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star, Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V” and Gold Star, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and Vietnamese Staff Honor Medal 1st Class. He also holds numerous service and campaign medals as well as unit commendations such as the Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation (two) and Vietnam Service Medal (five campaigns).

Meet the active duty Marine playing football for The Citadel. (PS, he’s fast.) Fri, 13 Aug 2021 20:09:51 +0000 He’s served in Haiti, Kuwait and Syria, and was posted to the Pentagon for the last two years as the highest ranking enlisted Marine.]]>

As seen in The Post and Courier, by Jeff Hartsell

He’s already served in Haiti, Kuwait and Syria, and was posted to the Pentagon for the last two years as an advisor to the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, the highest ranking enlisted Marine in the Corps.

His next assignment? 

Perfecting the mesh point in The Citadel’s triple-option offense.

Meet Elijah Bass, an active duty Marine who is playing football for The Citadel this season.

Sgt. Bass, 24, is a day student at The Citadel (not a member of the Corps of Cadets) who is attending college through the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program. That program allows selected Marines without a college degree to earn a officer’s commission and a bachelor’s degree at the same time.

And it also allows Bass to fulfill his dream of playing football.

“It’s kind of always been my dream,” Bass said. “And I feel like dreams are just dreams until you go out there and make it a priority. And so I wanted to make my dream come true.”

Bass’ dream is no idle one. At 6-0 and 230 pounds, he established himself as one of the fastest players on the team during summer workouts. Coach Brent Thompson has him working out at fullback during preseason practice, and says Bass should at least make an impact on special teams this season.

“He’s doing a really good job for not having played a whole lot of football,” Thompson said. “He’s figuring it out on on the run here a little bit. There’s 22 bodies out there running around him, and you’ve got to figure out where you fit in. It’s a bit of a learning curve for him, but he’s making progress every day.

“I don’t know if we will use him at B-back this year, but I think special teams is probably the best way for him to make an impact.”

Lacrosse to Marines

Bass said he hasn’t played football since the eighth grade in Mississippi. His family moved to Stafford, Virginia, as he started high school, and there he played lacrosse for four years.

“I was definitely interested in playing football in high school,” Bass said. “But my mom, she thought football was dangerous and was very strict on that, so my brother and I played lacrosse.”

After graduating from high school, Bass joined the Marines rather than go to college.

“Personally, I knew my maturity level was not where it needed to be to go to college,” he said. “My stepfather is a Marine, and he always told me, ‘If you want to mature a little bit, take the Marine path.’ And I just knew that was something I wanted to do, so I made that decision.”

After basic training at Parris Island, Bass went to Combat Logistics School to become a landing support specialist, and deployed to Haiti, Kuwait and Syria before he was assigned to the Pentagon.

Then he was selected for MECEP and came to The Citadel with a plan to study psychology and philosophy, and to play football.

Bass was familiar with the story of Luke Boyd, another active duty Marine who studied at LSU through MECEP and walked onto the football team.

“I knew Luke’s story, so I knew I could walk on at The Citadel if I got my size and speed up,” Bass said.

‘Do you like football?’

As fate would have it, Bulldogs strength coach Donnell Boucher spotted Bass working out in the gym.

“He asked me, ‘Hey, do you like football?’” Bass said.

Bass began working out with the Bulldogs over the summer, and immediately moved to the top of the speed charts Boucher uses to track the players’ progress in different sprints.

“We were definitely shocked,” Thompson said. “If you look at him, you can see he’s an explosive guy, but you don’t know how fast he truly is until you get him out there on some radars and clocks. Immediately, we said we’ve got to find something we can do with him.”

Bass started out at linebacker, but was moved to fullback because “it’s one of the easier positions on offense to learn,” Thompson said.

Even if he doesn’t carry the ball once this season, Bass already has made an impact on Citadel football.

“He’s great for the locker room and the meeting room,” Thompson said. “He’s got a lot of experience, he handles his business really well and he’s really organized. He’s doing a great job with our guys.”

The Citadel has a couple of long-time players in graduate students Raleigh Webb and Willie Eubanks III, but Bass is the new “old man” of the squad.

“They definitely make fun of me when it comes to my age,” said Bass, who’s been married to his wife, Kayla, for a year. “But the whole point is, if I can keep up, then we’re all the same age. They include me in all the great shenanigans, and its a good time. But it’s also, for me, a good mentorship opportunity.

“They want to know more about my life story, but then they are teaching me lessons as much as I’m trying to teach them.”

New chief has outdoor roots Tue, 01 Jun 2021 14:12:10 +0000 "I am thrilled, humbled and excited to lead the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission as director to ensure the national treasure in our backyard."]]>

Scott native, veteran tapped to be Game and Fish director

Note: Austin Booth is a ’08 Citadel, Baker School of Business alumnus. Upon learning of his new position, the college asked him to send a brief reflection on the value of his Citadel education.

“I am humbled and thrilled to serve Arkansans and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission as the next director.

Anyone who knows The Citadel, knows that it is built on foundations of service, perseverance, and selflessness. By these virtues, The Citadel–especially Bravo Beach–prepared me tremendously well to serve our nation in the Marine Corps and now in my home state.

I will always have a deep sense of gratitude for The Citadel’s commitment to growing leaders and citizens of character.”

Austin Booth, The Citadel Class of 2008, Director, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

As seen in Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, by Bryan Hendricks

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission named Austin Booth as the agency’s 19th director Thursday, succeeding Director Pat Fitts, who will retire June 30.

Booth, 34, is a Scott native and most recently served as chief of staff and chief financial officer for the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs. His starting salary as the Game and Fish director will be about $138,000 annually.

As chief financial officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Booth managed a budget of nearly $36 million. His primary responsibilities included supervising the agency’s assistant directors in managing two veterans cemeteries and two veterans homes. Booth’s resume cites reversing a $1.2 million annual loss at one veterans home to an annual profit exceeding $400,000.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s annual budget is about $92 million.

Booth served as a captain in the Marine Corps in several capacities from 2011-19, including a 2015-16 deployment to Afghanistan. He said his military service made him appreciate the influence hunting and fishing exerts on the Arkansas character.

“The catalyst for me applying to be next director was, ironically, a lousy duck hunt,” Booth said.

He described a morning in a duck blind when a flock of mallards landed among decoys about one minute before legal shooting time.

“A young man, high school age, reached for his gun, but he hesitated because he knew what time it was,” Booth said. “His dad reached over, put his hand on the young man’s gun and said, ‘Son, have some self-respect.’

“I don’t know whether that young man reflected on what his dad told him, but I have,” Booth said. “Arkansans have a humble and quiet grit about them. The things we learn in the outdoors — perseverance, community, selflessness and managing disappointment — all things that contribute to a good hunt, are things I see in the people of our state. I draw a direct line from our appreciation for the outdoors to the cultural attributes of Arkansans. It sets us apart from every other state.

“That’s something I’m willing to fight for. I am thrilled, humbled and excited to lead the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission as director to ensure the national treasure in our backyard, that we leave it better than we found it not only for the current Arkansans, but for the future crop of outdoorsmen that follow in our footsteps.”

At least three members of the seven-person commission cited Booth’s leadership and relationship-building skills as his most valuable attributes.

Commissioner Stan Jones of Walnut Ridge said those skills are essential for repairing and strengthening ties with the Arkansas Legislature. The Game and Fish Commission’s relationship with the Legislature was strained in March and April when three bills to increase the agency’s funding failed to get out of committee.

In 2018-19, Booth served as a Marine Corps judge advocate. His resume describes the position as being responsible for “creating and maintaining effective relationships with members and staff of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committees for … procurement and research and development, a portfolio of more than $11 billion.” Booth also prepared and advised senior Marine and Navy leaders for “testimony and engagements” with House and Senate members and staff.

From 2016-18, Booth served as a defense fellow for U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark. Booth’s resume says he advised Womack and his staff on national security policy. He also served as legislative assistant for the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations subcommittee.

“This is a huge agency that is doing a tremendous amount of good for our state,” Booth said. “I want to understand the budget and the infrastructure needs to a degree where I can ensure as director that we can continue to do the good that we do in perpetuity.”

Booth said his lifelong dream was to serve in the Marine Corps and said he regretted going to law school instead of entering the Corps directly after college.

“At Catholic, I watched 9/11 happen on live TV,” Booth said. “The turning point for me was when I was gone from The Citadel, a ton of my buddies served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I realized I didn’t get along with lawyers very well. I should have gone straight in from college.”

Booth entered active duty in 2011 and served as a judge advocate trial counsel at Quantico, Va. A benefit to his duty station was being allowed to hunt and fish on the facility grounds. Some of the finest deer and turkey hunting on the East Coast was within 10 minutes of his home.

“The Marine Corps brought a diversity of people that I had never been around before and exposed me to a lot of people that never hunted or fished before,” Booth said. “I started teaching people how to hunt and fish. That highlighted for me how special our state is, and how unique people from Arkansas are.”

Upon returning to Arkansas in 2019, Booth said he was astonished at the high price of duck hunting leases. His alternative was dealing with the crowds on public hunting areas. He said that is an unacceptable choice that confronts all Arkansas duck hunters.

He said the key to attracting and retaining new hunters is to provide abundant access to high-quality hunting opportunities.

“As we try to breathe life into Arkansas’ outdoors, we have to do it in a way that does not disenfranchise our current outdoors people,” Booth said. “If we sell a million new hunting licenses next year, but there’s no place on public land for them to hunt, then we’ve shot ourselves in the foot. If we sell a million hunting licenses and don’t have the launching ramps or the water control infrastructure, and if we’re not managing all that in a way that can sustain it long term, then we’ve shot ourselves in the foot.

“We have to bring new blood into the sport and do it in way that keeps faith with existing Arkansas hunters and anglers.”

From 2015-16, Booth served as an operational law attorney, advising on the legality and strategic implications of dynamic, lethal targeting.

Booth acknowledged that with his experience, he could earn considerably more money as a lobbyist or a consultant. He said that serving as director of the Game and Fish Commission is a more natural fit for him.

“I left the state for a long time to serve my country, and I brought my family back because I believe it’s one of the best places in the country to raise your family,” Booth said. “I want to make my state a better place.

“When I look at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the reach that it has, and the very real impact that it has on the left, the right, the well-to-do and those of modest means, I can’t think of a better way to serve for the better good of Arkansans than with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.”

Four finalists announced in search for new Commandant of Cadets Fri, 05 Feb 2021 21:34:23 +0000 The Citadel Commandant of Cadets is responsible for the command, leadership development and oversight of the 2,300-member Corps of Cadets.]]>

Finalists to make presentations on campus

There are four finalists in The Citadel’s search for the next Commandant of Cadets.

The Citadel Commandant of Cadets is a vice presidential position that is responsible for the command, leadership development and oversight of the 2,300-member South Carolina Corps of Cadets and is crucial to the success of the Military College of South Carolina.

The finalists include:

Col. Thomas J. Gordon, U.S. Marine Corps

Col Tom Gordon headshot

Gordon graduated from The Citadel in 1991, becoming a U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) officer. He retires from military service in May 2021 after 30 years. Gordon is currently the Director of the Command & Staff College at Quantico, Virginia, one of the four Department of Defense Professional Military Education Colleges where he leads the development of future commanders of the joint force with graduate level education. Previously he served as the Chief of Staff to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, supporting the coordination of policy, plans, and decisions governing the manning, training, and resourcing of nearly 200,000 Marines and 13,000 civilian employees with an annual budget of $42 billion. Examples of other positions include serving as a Resident Fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations and as Commanding Officer for a 4,000 member organization executing world-wide combat operations that provided the communications, intelligence, electronic and cyber warfare capabilities, supporting arms integration, and liaison capabilities for the USMC. Gordon holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Webster University and studied as a Fellow of International Relations and National Security with Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Col. Michael McDonald Larsen, U.S. Army

Col. Michael McDonald Larsen, U.S. Army

Larsen graduated from The Citadel in 1992 and has served in the U.S. Army as an active duty Infantry Officer for 28 years. Larsen is currently Deputy Commanding Officer for the U.S. Army Training Center at Fort Jackson where he is second in command over the Basic Combat Training of 50,000 soldiers annually (1,000 weekly during the coronavirus pandemic). Prior to that, he was Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Africa, supervising 20 colonels and their directorates with responsibility to respond to contingencies and security cooperation activities in 53 countries on the African continent. Larsen also spent time as a Garrison Commander in the Kwajalein Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Island, where operations included a $4 billion test range and leading the community of 2,000 military service people and civilian contractor workers there. Larsen was the Brigade Operations Officer and Battalion Executive Officer for 1st Brigade 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, with combat service in Iraq. In addition to a Bachelor of Arts in History from The Citadel, Larsen holds a Master’s of National Security and Strategic Students from the U.S. Naval War College, and a Master’s of Military Art and Science from the School for Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth.

Capt. M. T. Meilstrup, U.S. Coast Guard

Meilstrup graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Academy in 1992 and continues to serve the USCG. He is currently Senior Manager, Logistics and Business Operations for the USCG, directing enterprise-level logistics policy, procedures and integrated assessments and business operations for the nearly $2 billion directorate. Meilstrup spent 18 years aboard ships and, thus far, 11 years in command roles. For four years he commanded the Coast Guard’s three-masted EAGLE sail-training ship leading over 2,000 officer trainees through 80 different ports and on four trans-Atlantic voyages. Other assignments included serving as Senior Manager/Adviser in the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as Chief, External Affairs and Heritage for the USCG. In addition to earning a Bachelor of Science in Marine Sciences from the USCG Academy, Meilstrup holds three master’s degrees: one in Strategic Studies from U.S. Marine Corps University, a Master of International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University SAIS, and a Master of Business Administration from Regis University.

Col. Scott Nahrgang, U.S. Air Force

Nahrgang graduated from The Citadel in 1996 and became an officer in the U.S. Air Force (USAF). He continues to serve almost 25 years after his commission. Nahrgang is currently Chief of Command and Control, Electronic Warfare and Global Integrated Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Strategic Plans and Programs, at the USAF headquarters in the Pentagon. Previously, he led intelligence operations as group commander at Beale AFB for the 548 ISR Group, a 24/7 combat mission entity. Earlier, Nahrgang commanded the Department of Defense’s largest multi-service intelligence training unit, composed of 375 instructors teaching 6,400 joint-service students each year. He was deployed as the executive officer to the Secretary of Defense Representative in Europe and Defense Advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to NATO, and the Defense Intelligence Policy Advisor for the U.S. Mission to NATO. In addition to a Bachelor’s Degree in English from The Citadel, Nahrgang holds a Masters of Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle University and a Government Affairs Institute Legislative Studies Certificate from Georgetown University.

About the search

The search was initiated in November following an announcement by The Citadel President, Gen. Glenn M. Walters about the upcoming retirement of current commandant, Captain Geno Paluso, USN (Ret.), ‘89, at the end of the current academic year.

Some of the position requirements include:

  • Extensive military background with a minimum of 20 years of service in one of the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and attained the rank of Colonel (O-6)
  • Background in the command of military units (O-6 level) is required in order to provide the senior leadership for the Corps of Cadets
  • The Commandant must also have ONE of the following:
    · Experience at a Senior Military College
    · Experience at a Federal Service Academy
    · Graduated from a Senior Military College or from a Federal Service Academy

The Commandant Search Committee members are as follows:

  • Col. Tom Philipkosky, USAF (Ret.), ’82, senior vice president for Operations and Administration (chair)
  • Col. Pete McCoy, vice chair for The Citadel Board of Visitors
  • Faith Rivers-James, J.D., assistant provost for Leadership
  • Col. Leo Mercado, USMC (Ret.), ’79, former Commandant of Cadets
  • Jay Dowd, Ph.D., president and CEO, The Citadel Foundation

Presentation dates

The finalists will provide presentations on campus at noon on these dates:

  • Col. Tom Gordon – February 22
  • Capt. Matt Meilstrup – February 24
  • Col. Mike Larsen – February 26
  • Col. Scott Nahrgang – March 1

The presentations will take place in the Bond Hall 165 auditorium, with very limited, socially-distanced seating on a first come, first served basis. The presentations will also be shown live via Zoom. The link will be provided to the campus community prior to each presentation via email and advertised via The Citadel’s social media accounts. Zoom participants will be able to send in questions via Zoom’s chat function.

Passing the Trident: 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit Change of Command from Col. Robert Brodie to Col. Michael Nakonieczny Fri, 03 Jul 2020 10:00:15 +0000 Col. Robert Brodie is a member of The Citadel Class of 1994 and the departing commanding officer of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.]]>

Photo: Col. Robert Brodie, right, a member of The Citadel Class of 1994 and the departing commanding officer of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and Col. Michael Nakonieczny, the oncoming commanding officer of the 31st MEU stand in front of the U.S. and unit colors at Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, June 25, 2020.

As seen on Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, by Capt. George McArthur

The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit passage of command from Col. Robert Brodie to Col. Michael Nakonieczny took place at a private event due to COVID-19 force health protection measures, here, June 25. Brodie, a career F/A-18 Hornet Naval Aviator, is from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and attended The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. Nakonieczny, a career Light Armored Reconnaissance Officer is from Buena Park, California, and attended the University of California at Davis.

Over Brodie’s two years in command of the 31st MEU, the unit completed four full unit-deployment cycles including training, exercises, and real-world operations throughout the Indo-Pacific region. The 31st MEU continuously operated with combined forces throughout Japan, in the Kingdom of Thailand, the Republic of the Philippines, Australia, and other allied nations often with the Navy’s Amphibious Squadron 11 aboard ships of the USS Wasp (LHD 1) and USS America (LHA 6) Amphibious Ready Groups. Additionally, the 31st MEU trained as far east as Hawaii, and provided Defense Support of Civil Authorities in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on Rota and Tinian in the wake of Typhoons Mangkhut and Yutu, September through November 2018.

Before he passed responsibility of command, Brodie thanked all members of the unit and reflected on his experiences at the only continuously forward-deployed MEU in the Marine Corps.

“We have done a lot of innovative things, I think it has prepared this MEU to respond to crises whether high-end or helping people out,” said Brodie. “I have watched and been inspired by our young Marines – I have seen the best that they have to offer. They have absolute pride, spirit, dignity, and what I have seen out of them and their leadership is overwhelming in accomplishments and achievements. That is where I’m most proud: to be part of an organization which I believe is based in respect and dignity, and inspiring others to be great. I personally believe that the best weapon system that the Marine Corps has is not a rifle, not a tank or airplane, but a United States Marine. Every one of those Marines is a lethal weapon ready to deploy and stand up at a moment’s notice. I could not be happier to turn this great organization to such a great man and his family, to Col. Nakonieczny.”

At the conclusion of the change of command, Nakonieczny expressed appreciation to all Marines that he has worked with throughout his career, while welcoming the challenges to come.

“To the Marines of the 31st MEU, I have watched you with great enthusiasm and I am so eager to join your team,” said Nakonieczny. “Colonel Brodie, I have watched you take it to the next level. I vow to you that I will do my best to exploit the initiative that you have set for this MEU, and I will love these Marines like my family. To those of you in attendance, it is my honor to be here today, and to the team that I am joining, I am so excited and I cannot wait to earn my spot on your team; I will. Semper Fidelis.”

The Citadel is staging poolees for observation due to COVID-19 before shipping to boot camp Wed, 06 May 2020 00:00:44 +0000 The Citadel is temporarily staging incoming poolees headed for recruit training for 14 days for observation due to COVID-19.]]>

Photo: Poolees arrive at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, May 4. The Citadel is temporarily being utilized to stage poolees for a 14-day observation period. (Courtesy: Staff Sgt. Rebecca Floto, Marine Corps)

As seen in the Marine Corps Times, by Shawn Snow

The Citadel, a public and military college in Charleston, South Carolina, is temporarily staging incoming poolees headed for recruit training for 14 days for observation due to COVID-19.

The recruit depot at Parris Island, South Carolina, posted images to Facebook of incoming poolees being screened by medical personnel who arrived May 4 at The Citadel.

Roughly 300 personnel and 300 poolees are currently housed at The Citadel, Capt. Bryan McDonnell, a spokesman for the Parris Island recruit depot, told Marine Corps Times in an emailed statement.

Personnel at the Citadel are “restricted to campus grounds as a preventative measure against COVID risks,” McDonnell said.

McDonnell explained that Parris Island hosted an initial staging effort constructed on the installation when shipping of recruits resumed on April 20 following a temporary pause.

But Parris Island continued to pursue other staging options to “further harden our posture against COVID-19,” McDonnell said.

“The ability to conduct staging of poolees in hard structure berthing with rooms for 2-4 personnel, as well as on-site laundry, infirmary, and mess facilities, led MCRD Parris Island to a temporary partnership with The Citadel,” McDonnell said.

“This partnership enables our continuing mission of making Marines while enhancing our staging capabilities,” McDonnell explained.

While in staging, the poolees will conduct training and classes to maintain preparedness to start recruit training, McDonnell said. The Poolees will also be observed and screened twice daily by medical personnel over the two-week period.

Following the two-week staging period the poolees will be shipped to Parris Island to begin Marine boot camp.

video of the poolees arriving showed the future Marine recruits being handed Meals Ready to Eat, commonly known as the MRE, for food.

It’s the latest safety precaution taking by Marine Corps recruit training to stem the spread of COVID-19.

The current president of The Citadel is retired Marine Gen. Glenn M. Walters who served as the 34th Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps.

McDonnell said The Citadel was chosen for staging because it is “uniquely postured to support the type of supervision and training we were looking to conduct based on the layout of their barracks and proximity to the Depot and major airports.”

The recruit depot in San Diego, California, previously implemented a 14-day staging period for incoming recruits for observation prior to stepping foot on the iconic yellow footprints and commencing boot camp.

Both Parris Island and San Diego have experienced large breakouts of the virus. Nearly four dozen recruits within one company aboard the San Diego depot tested positive for COVID-19. Parris Island temporarily suspended the arrival of new recruits following a breakout on the installation.

Other safety measures have been implemented to include social distancing when feasible, extra space between bunks in the squad bays, more spacing in dining facilities, and the wearing of face masks.

Both the recruit training depots have posted images of recruits and drill instructors donning green skivvy-shirt face masks following Defense Department guidance calling for cloth face coverings when social distancing was not feasible.

Marines with Oscar Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion conduct their final uniform inspection on Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. May 1, 2020. (Courtesy: Sgt. Dana Beesley/ Marine Corps)

Marines are even conducting uniform inspections with face masks.

Marines with Oscar Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion aboard Parris Island conducted a Marine Corps service Alpha uniform inspection on May while wearing face masks. Images were posted by the depot to Facebook.

“The function of the staging process remains the health and wellness of all poolees in our charge as they prepare to face the challenge of recruit training,” McDonnell said. “Staging is one portion of aggressive mitigation efforts being employed at recruit training to combat COVID-19.”

One Obstacle at a Time Mon, 31 Dec 2018 19:30:01 +0000 Rene ValentineRene ValentineHaving completed his last semester as The Citadel, Rene Valentine's future is bright. He made his mark on The Citadel. His next obstacle, Marine Officer Candidate School in Quantico.]]> Rene ValentineRene Valentine

The sun gleamed off the black granite slabs of The Citadel War Memorial and shone right onto Cadet Rene Valentine’s face. This moment made all of the hard work of the last four years worth the effort.

The Citadel War Memorial was dedicated during Homecoming 2017 to honor fallen alumni, and this year was the first ring ceremony of the War Memorial’s existence.

“It’s probably the most beautiful monument on campus, and it represents the purest ideals of The Citadel.”

As senior class president, one of Valentine’s responsibilities was to create a legacy for the Class of 2019. At this year’s ring ceremony, the most anticipated event of senior year, when senior cadets see their hard work, dedication and perseverance recognized, Valentine took his responsibility to heart, determined to incorporate a new tradition that would create a legacy for the Class of 2019. The legacy—a new tradition in which the senior class wearing their new bands of gold salutes The Citadel’s fallen alumni at the site of the War Memorial.

“It honors our fallen alumni, those who we should aspire to be like every day, those who most represent the ring. It cannot be removed or tarnished, nor can it be taken away or broken; this goes in the history books forever.”Click To Tweet

Determined to leave his mark, Valentine arrived in Charleston with his eyes set on one goal—to find his purpose. Prior to his career at The Citadel, Valentine called many places home. Growing up on military bases, Valentine knew he wanted to serve his country as a Marine. Watching his mother, an Army lieutenant colonel, Valentine knew firsthand the rigors of military service. And wanting to be the best, he enrolled at The Citadel, whose challenging military environment added to its U.S. News & World Report ranking as the No. 1 college in the south offering up to a Master’s degree.

His first obstacle as a freshman was to fit in and find his place.  With wide eyes, Valentine idolized the ranking officers and wanted to be one of them, but he also realized that everyone matters, not just the ranking officers. Determined to make the most of his cadet experience, Valentine challenged himself at every opportunity. The desire to make a difference drove him to become class president.

“It was through drive and grit that I became class president. I didn’t want to be average, and I knew that I wanted our class to make a difference.”Click To Tweet

Having completed his last semester at The Citadel, the political science major’s future is bright.  Valentine made his mark on The Citadel.  His next obstacle—Marine Officer Candidate School in Quantico.

To view more student and cadet stories, visit