MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO --
Service members, their families and retirees who evacuated from their homes due to fires in San Diego County this week have been temporarily relocated to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.
So far, 408 people have stayed in the 183 rooms that have been made available in the Transit Enlisted Quarters, according to Clara S. Morales, assistant director for housing and billeting.
On the second day alone, we helped about 144 families and their pets, said Morales.
“The families have been relatively quiet since they came in. They must be leaving the depot at night to take in a movie or dinner.”
Evacuees came not only from the San Diego community, but also from nearby military bases.
Gunnery Sgt. Antonio Jackson’s family evacuated from Camp Pendleton. Jackson is a drill instructor with Company B.
“At about 3 a.m. the (military police) told everyone to evacuate,” said his wife Lisa M. Jackson. “I came from San Onofre with my 8-year-old son, Tavion, and 3-year-old daughter, Laila.”
For some families this wasn’t their first time evacuating because of fire hazards.
“We were here in San Diego in 2003 during the Cedar fires,” said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Josh Cosman, San Diego State Reserve Officer Training Corps. “We evacuated with everything we could last time and this time we only brought what was important: our family, priceless photos and our dogs.”
Military evacuees and their families have been able to eat at Duncan Hall, which is the dining facility for service members assigned to the depot. The Exchange Mall, bowling alley, food court and recreation center have also remained open for families.
In the midst of the crisis, not only has recruit training continued, but the depot has also received new recruits as scheduled, according to depot officials.
Yet due to poor air quality, certain modifications were made. The most significant change was that all strenuous physical activity was suspended, and was replaced with additional indoor activities to include values-based guided discussions, the reinforcement of previously covered critical material and indoor training in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, according to situational reports.
Field Week classes at Weapons Field Training Battalion are being held indoors, and snap-in barrels have been moved into the squad bays for additional practice. All companies have been conducting training in the barracks such as practical application and additional core values guided discussions, according to officials at WFTBn.
While ensuring our recruits receive the best training available, the depot will continue to assist those affected by the San Diego County fires.
“In an effort to support our military community and ease some of the strain on San Diego’s evacuation efforts, we have opened up billeting for evacuated, active duty and retired service members and their households,” according to Col. Carl F. Huenefeld, Chief of Staff, MCRD San Diego.