The Corps’ new Correctional Custody Unit aboard Camp Hansen in Okinawa, Japan, is slated to open its doors this month, but don’t expect Marines to be breaking rocks as in the past.
Corps officials put the kibosh on the rock breaking after the new correctional unit’s grand opening was delayed several months pending a review by senior officials.
The Corps is now describing the new correctional unit as a mere “test” and a “pilot program.”
“A notable difference in CCU 2.0 [Correctional Custody Unit] is that the rock-breaking exercise, for which the original Correctional Custody Unit was known, will not be done,” Corps officials said in a press release emailed Thursday. “Instead, the physical fitness program features field training exercises and combat conditioning regularly conducted by Marine units on a daily basis.”
Images posted on the Defense Department’s imagery website in January showcased Marines busting up rocks with sledgehammers when the Corps began testing the new correctional unit concept, invoking images of a hard labor camp and provoking controversy.
The new correctional unit offers a way for commanders to retain junior Marines who otherwise would have been separated over various minor misconduct.
“With a dedicated staff who are eager to guide and mentor, CCU 2.0 will provide Marines the opportunity to navigate back to true north in order to serve as productive teammates, make better personal and professional life decisions, and successfully complete their initial enlistment,” the command release reads.
Corps officials also have pushed back on usage of the term “hard labor” camp to describe the unit.
“Our primary job is mentorship,” Sgt. Dustin Owens, a senior watch stander at the CCU, said in the command release. “I’m going to accept them like they are my Marines, because for that 30-day period ― they are. I am going to have a vested interest in their future success.”
The new unit will offer classes that emphasize Corps values and ideals.
“This new curriculum is designed to re-instill the values and high standards of the Marine Corps back into each Marine,” Brig. Gen. Paul J. Rock Jr., commanding general Marine Corps Installations Pacific, said in the command release. “I look forward to seeing the results of this program as it rebuilds our most valued asset, the Marine.”