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Marine Corps considers closing Parris Island training facility

If Parris Island closes, South Carolina could lose hundreds of millions of dollars, official says.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Parris Island in Beaufort County is home to the Marine Corps’ recruit depot for the East Coast. It’s been accepting recruits since 1915.

According to reports from Military.com, the Marines are considering closing both Parris Island and their West Coast training facility in San Diego to combine them into a new location.

The report says both locations will soon be required to accommodate coed training but would need renovations to do so. The Marines say it might be more cost efficient to shut down and build a new boot camp somewhere else.

But South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster isn’t so fond of the idea. The Governor’s spokesperson Brian Symmes tells News19, “Parris Island’s historic and economic significance is woven into the very fabric of our state and the Lowcountry. Simply put, there is nothing Governor McMaster won’t do to protect Parris Island and its status as one of the best military training installations in the world.”

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President of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Carl Blackstone, said shutting down the boot camp would be a blow to South Carolina’s economy.

"Parris Island has somewhere around 6,000 direct and indirect jobs. They have a fiscal impact of well over 700 million dollars to the state of South Carolina," Blackstone said. "So, if that was lost, it would be felt all over the state. Obviously, the direct losses would impact the Lowcountry more, but we would feel it here as well. It would be a shame.”

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According to a 2019 report by the University of South Carolina’s School of Business, the state’s military community contributes 25.3 billion dollars annually.

Senator Lindsey Graham doesn’t want Parris Island shut down either. In a tweet responding to the Military.com article, Graham wrote, “if you’re looking to save money — let’s start with cutting those people who think closing Parris Island is a good idea.”

Governor McMaster is set to have a commander’s briefing about Parris Island with the state’s Military Base Task Force on Thursday.

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