Parents can mail cellphones to recruits going through boot camp aboard Parris Island, South Carolina, during the fourth phase of training to help mitigate communications issues that may arise over COVID-19 disruptions, according to the Parris Island depot.
Capt. Bryan McDonnell, a spokesman for the South Carolina boot camp, told Marine Corps Times that the phones are not authorized to be use outside the normal fourth phase liberty hours when the new Marines are allowed to contact their families anyways.
The phones can be mailed during fourth phase as the recruits are wrapping up the grueling 54-hour training event known as the Crucible — which leads to earning the Eagle Globe, and Anchor and becoming a Marine.
“This measure assists communication between our new Marines and their loved ones, and is one of several adjustments we’ve made to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on daily operations,” McDonnell said.
McDonnell said Parris Island made the move to allow the cellphones because recruits are shipping directly to the School of Infantry for follow-on training after graduating from boot camp vice taking the usual 10-days of leave before reporting to their new assignment.
Families often give the new Marines a phone during graduation activities, but those events are now closed to the public, he explained. Boot camp graduation events are now streamed online due to COVID-19 concerns.
“The process is transparent to the new Marines and does not alter their recruit training experience,” McDonnell said.
Parris Island temporarily halted the incoming of new recruits aboard the depot for training following an outbreak of COVID-19.
Training continues across the Corps’ two recruit training depots, with slight modifications to address health guidance to help stymie the spread of COVID-19.
There’s extra spacing between recruits in the squad bays, chow facilities, and some classroom activities have been altered.
Recruits and drill instructors are also donning skivvy shirt face masks following guidance from the Defense Department mandating cloth face coverings when personnel are unable to maintain six feet of social distancing.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.