Substations move in on target territory
| 12th Marine Corps District | September 26, 2003
RECRUITING STATION ORANGE, Calif. --
The Marines of Permanent Contact Station West Covina, Recruiting Substation Azusa, Recruiting Station Orange, officially opened their new office inside the West Covina Mall in a ceremony June 14.
"The Marine Corps made an outstanding decision in moving us to the mall," said SSgt. Stephen Kline, staff noncommissioned officer in charge, RSS Azusa. "This will provide a much better opportunity to contact the young men and women in the area. The old office was in an area that really didn't attract any traffic. It simply wasn't a place where young people would naturally go. Here, it's great. It's clean and bright and open and I'm not sure if it's the novelty or the flags in the huge window or what; but people notice us now."
Both the Marine Corps and the Army had been scouting a new location when they decided to form an alliance and become neighbors at the mall's new U.S. Armed Forces center.
"This is the first office we've actually had inside of a mall; it's kind of the test marker for us," explained GySgt. Luis Contreras, supply chief, RS Orange. "It's a lot easier to find than the old one - if you didn't know where it was, you'd miss it altogether."
With as much pomp and circumstance as they could muster, the Marines ensured their presence was acknowledged by early morning shoppers and neighboring shopkeepers. They assembled their platoon of poolees in the hallway and made quick work of posting the inflatable drill instructor at the hallway's intersection. The imposing figure towered near the front entrance to one of the Marines' newest neighbors and greatest target market attraction - the video arcade.
"I foresee the office traffic developing more," remarked Sgt. Mark Forster, recruiter, PCS West Covina. "I notice people checking us out - it's a lot better than the old place. The arcade across the hall definitely helps. You can't beat it."
The Marines had cunningly endorsed the Army's enthusiasm to create as much fervor as possible for the opening, and gratefully reaped the rewards of the radio station the soldiers contracted to broadcast from the remote location and advertise the event.
Following the joint-service ribbon cutting, the Marines ceremoniously cut a commemorative cake and declared they were open for business.
The re-location of PCS West Covina is the second of four planned moves for RS Orange this summer. Recently, the recruiters of RSS Lakewood moved into their new fighting hole at Lakewood Mall and shortly; the lone Marine assigned to the new Permanent Contact Station in Maui, RSS Hawaii, will have a new office to conduct operations from.
"The old building was getting run down and there were a lot of maintenance problems. The new office is right next to the mall and they have a lot better chance of people seeing them," Contreras said. "It's also near one of newest malls on the island - it's a growing area, so it should be a good location for them."
In addition, plans are in progress to move the Marines of PCS Norwalk, RSS Fullerton, into a newer building in a plaza with better visibility, parking and a safer environment for pedestrian traffic.