Lawmakers from South Carolina introduced legislation that they say would prohibit federal money from being used to close ― or to make plans to shut down ― Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina.
The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Nancy Mace, R-South Carolina, on Jan. 24, comes in the wake of reports about rising sea levels that are threatening the future of the Marine Corps’ eastern recruiting hub.
“Since opening over a century ago, Parris Island has served a vital role in the defense of America,” Mace said in a statement. “Over one million brave Marines have trained at the base and served our country in every conflict since World War I. Parris Island is fundamental to our national defense, and it’s vital we continue to make Marines there.”
Parris Island, South Carolina, one of the oldest posts in the Marine Corps, was designated for recruit training in 1915.
Mace, a new member of the House Armed Services Committee, was joined by fellow Republican policymakers from the “Palmetto State” in introducing the bill, including Rep. Joe Wilson, Rep. Ralph Norman, Rep. William Timmons, Rep. Jeff Duncan and Rep. Russell Fry.
The South Carolina representatives co-sponsored similar legislation in 2020 and 2021. At the time, this also followed comments from Commandant Gen. David Berger about the possibility of a reorganization of boot camp due to gender-integration requirements, according to reporting by Military.com.
“I am grateful to co-lead the reintroduction of this important legislation which ensures that Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island will remain open,” Wilson, who also sits on the House military panel, said in the statement. “[A]ny proposals to close the facility would not only be detrimental to South Carolina economically, but also to the United States Marine Corps and our military readiness.”
The South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs issued a report in the summer of 2022 that said Parris Island, South Carolina, had a total $805.6 million economic impact on the state, based on federal fiscal year 2021 data.
Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media