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Marines threatened to be charged leave for quarantine stays

For just under three days, Marines in the 3rd Marine Regiment were threated to be charge leave days if they had to go into quarantine.

Roughly a year ago after the COVID-19 pandemic started the Marine Corps instituted a restriction of movement period that would see Marines go on two weeks of quarantine before every deployment and after they have returned from leave.

Though some leave blocks were shortened to accommodate the restriction of movement period, Marines were never forced to take leave to go on quarantine.

Over the past year, numerous Marines and other service members have sent in complaints about the moldy, expired or otherwise inadequate food served to them during this restriction of movement period. In August 2020 some Marines from deployed on Okinawa, Japan, were told to “eat around the mold,” by their command.

Charging Marines leave for a less-than-luxury stay in the barracks was quickly reversed.

The policy lasted only three days and no Marines were charged leave, Maj. Kurt Stahl, a spokesman for the 3rd Marine Division said in an email.

“If a Marine was erroneously charged leave for time spent in ROM, the Marine’s leave balance will be corrected,” he added.

The policy instituted by Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, based infantry regiment was said to have been part of an effort to improve safety.

“The health and readiness of the force is a priority for leadership. As such, continuous assessments are made concerning the COVID-19 situation and appropriate policy updates.”

More than 21,850 Marines have been diagnosed with the potentially deadly coronavirus, according to the Department of Defense.

Despite the number of cases, Marines have so far been reluctant to take the vaccine.

As of April 30, 97,300 Marines and “tier 1″ civilians employed by the Marine Corps have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 53,100 have declined the vaccine from the Department of Defense, for a declination rate right around 35 percent.

That rate is about double the Department of Defense declination for the COVID-19 vaccine, which sits around 17.5 percent.

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