U.S. military bases where recruits train to become Marines or Navy SEALs are being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego is where new recruits from the west coast go to boot camp. But the arrival of COVID-19 has had the Marine Corps screening recruits before they even get to San Diego, and again at the Marine base where they go through additional medical testing.
“Once they arrive here if they develop any symptoms they are properly screened tested and quarantined if needed," Capt. Martin Harris, the Director of Communication Strategy and Operations for MCRD San Diego and Western recruiting region, told NBC 7.
While they have tested a few Marines with symptoms who were quarantined during the process, to date none have tested positive for the coronavirus, Capt. Harris told NBC 7.
“We’ve been very cautious”, said Capt. Harris.
And with good reason. The Marine Corps suspended shipping new recruits to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island after several COVID-19 cases.
At this time the Marine Corps is not sending new recruits to San Diego from the East Coast, as a result, but Capt. Harris noted that could change.
Separating recruits is a challenge due to the nature of the training at MCRD, so the number of trainees has been decreased in order to practice social distance. Beds where the new recruits sleep now have been distanced six feet apart.
The company graduating on April 3, will not get the traditional 10-day leave. Instead, they'll head straight to Camp Pendleton for Infantry School.
And while there will be a graduation ceremony, no family or friends will be able to attend because of the coronavirus restrictions.
At Naval Special Warfare, where sailors train to become Navy SEALs, three of 11 training cohorts have been postponed for at least eight weeks. A Naval Special Warfare spokesperson tells NBC 7, it was done to reduce the potential risk of students contracting COVID-19.
The sailors are also closely monitored and screened for symptoms especially given the extreme physical nature of some of the training.
Both branches say the coronavirus is not stopping the process to keep the pipeline of new military members from adding to the current fighting force.