The Marine Corps has released an updated MARADMIN outlining changes to COVID-19 related travel restrictions for Marines traveling to scheduled advanced formal school courses.
The Marine Corps, like the entirety of the Defense Department, has made repeated changes to travel restrictions aimed to slow the spread of COVID-19 within the ranks and ensure the Corps maintains a high level of readiness. Among these initiatives were sweeping changes to travel policies for service members executing Permanent Change of Station (PCS) or temporary assignment (TAD/TDY) orders.
However, as the nation continues to battle the coronavirus, the Marines have acknowledged the need to continue to conduct essential training, prompting them to release updated travel restriction guidelines that allow for the execution of orders provided certain safety requirements are met.
Those new safety requirements include the receiving commands allowing for appropriate quarantine periods upon arrival, which, in many cases, will require a longer duration for even TAD/TDY orders.
“Effective immediately, all Marines traveling to attend scheduled formal courses from outside the local area of the course may be required to arrive an additional 14 days prior to the scheduled convening of the course to accommodate local commanders’ restriction of movement for COVID-19 related local quarantine,” the MARADMIN reads.
In many cases, that means Marines will need to travel earlier than in the past in order to arrive with sufficient time to quarantine before training begins. These requirements apply to all active duty Marines with orders to travel in the near future:
“All Marines traveling on PCS, Permanent Change of Station, or TDY, Temporary Additional Duty, orders will have their orders modified by their departing command to arrive 14 days prior to the convening date of their class. All Marines traveling on PCA orders will report on the original report date.”
The Marines also point out that these new bits of guidance should not be considered a replacement for previous guidance on avoiding the spread of COVID-19, but instead should be added in conjunction with existing requirements. That means Marines will still be expected to exercise social distancing and to wear cloth face covers in circumstances that don’t allow for it even after their 14-day period of isolation.
The COVID-19 travel restriction updates issued by the Marines are a part of the Corps’ broader effort to ensure a high level of readiness even despite ongoing concerns about the spread of the virus. As the Marine Corps Commandant, General Robert B. Nellar, recently appeared in a video explaining why it is essential for training to continue.
“Why do we continue to do recruit training in the middle of this terrible virus?” General Berger asked himself aloud rhetorically.
“We never get the chance to pick the next crises, where it happens, or when it happens. When the president calls, Marines and the Navy team, we respond immediately. So we must continue to train. We have to continue recruit training, because this nation relies on its Marine Corps, especially in tough times.”