The commander of the 2nd Marine Division, Maj. Gen. David J. Furness, has pushed out a policy letter detailing a new “basic daily routine” across the division citing a “significant decline” in discipline among Marines and sailors headquartered at the Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, base.
The policy letter, dated April 16, was posted to the social media accounts of the popular Marine comic strip known as Terminal Lance.
The daily routine, which starts with morning reveille at 5:30 a.m. and ends with 4:45 p.m. liberty, also includes a breakdown of times for hygiene, fitness, chow and daily unit tasks, which many Marines have decried on social media as micromanagement, a form of group punishment and a detriment to future retention.
“We have allowed Marines and Sailors to walk around with long hair, nonexistent or poor shaves, unserviceable boots and utilities and improper civilian attire,” the policy reads. “There are weeds growing around our buildings and work spaces and trash everywhere but the dumpsters where it belongs.”
The letter asks for Marines and units within the division to adhere to a new daily routine to promote “habits of thought and action” and overall attention to detail, traits that foster “mutual trust” and efficiency in battle.
But shaves and haircuts may be the least of the 2nd Marine Division’s discipline problems.
A mysterious fire that caused more than $100,000 dollars in damages at the headquarters for 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, is still under investigation by Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
While the cause of the fire is still unknown, some Marines have speculated that the fire was set by Marines within the unit upset with the operation’s tempo of field exercises.
NCIS has characterized the blaze, which torched an office and years of command memorabilia, as of a “suspicious nature” in a bulletin seeking tips.
Marines have taken to social media to lament about group punishment and its impact on morale and retention following the posting of the new order.
But, the daily schedule posted in the policy is not too far removed from what some units across the Corps do everyday. The schedule provides only a generic breakdown. It also notes that some units may have to deviate from the schedule.
However, a divisionwide routine is also not all that common either. Organization of daily tasks and schedules is usually left up to individual units from platoons, companies or battalions. For many Marines, a mandated daily routine that goes as far as to allot time for hygiene usually only occurs in recruit training or at various school houses.
The daily routine described in the policy lays out what a typical day may look like in the Corps, but it is not often the case that units adhere to such a strict regimented schedule in the fleet. For some units, actual morning and evening formations are less frequent and are viewed as more informal gatherings.
Some comments argued the daily routine was a symptom of the Corps moving toward a peacetime force, where fewer Marines are deployed and engaged in combat operations overseas.
Other Marines complained that the policy could result in hazing with Marine corporals and sergeants being pressured to wake Marines earlier than the allotted reveille time. Some worried they might get punished for enforcing the new policy.
From 2016 to 2018, the 1st Marine Division has had nearly 101 investigations of hazing.
The policy letter specifically calls out leaders to not be “apprehensive in the correction” of Marines and sailors, and that leaders would have “full support” of the division in enforcing the order. The letter also warns that Marines will be “held accountable” for Marines and sailors under their watch and command.
Some on social media supported the new policy, commenting that the commanding general’s decision was likely the result of a failure of Marine noncommisioned officers to correct discipline issues within the ranks.
“This is basic sh*t. 18 years and this is how it’s ALWAYS been...I’ve served in all 3 divisions and this is the standard. I don’t get all the hate," one person commented on Facebook.
“What y’all are missing though is that the CG [commanding general] just mandated liberty at 1645. There are a few grunt battalions that are gonna have a hard time meeting that deadline,” another person noted.