Marine Corps commandant Gen. Jim Amos sat down for an interview with Leatherneck Magazine recently, which is freshly out in the magazine’s February edition.
The interviewer, Arthur P. Brill Jr., asked Amos if one of the dire consequences he predicted would result from shrinking the Corps to 174,000–having to ship troops straight from “the drill field to the battlefield”–was really likely to happen. The answer: not terribly, but conditions will still be more constrained with a smaller force.
Leatherneck: You testified recently that Marines could go straight from boot camp to combat without giving them precombat training. Would you really do that?
Gen Amos: The answer is no. But, if our strength and capabilities drop, we can fight just one major contingency someplace. If that big one comes, Marines will go to war and won’t come home until it’s over. We will not have the depth to rotate people back and forth. Similar to Korea in the early 1950s, Marines could go from boot camp to the battlefield. Believe me, we would do everything possible not to do that.
In another exchange, Brill asks whether the “basket leave” granted to same-sex couples, which gives them time to travel to another state to be married, is raising some hackles. Amos reveals some interesting data: there are fewer than 25 Marine same-sex couples on active duty. And apparently the leave policy hasn’t been a problem.
Leatherneck: How many same-sex couples does the Corps have, and is the “basket leave” they receive to get married causing any rumblings?
Gen Amos: We have about 144 same-sex couples on active duty, and less than 25 are a Marine with a Marine. Most are a Marine and a civilian or a Marine with another servicemember. Same-sex marriages are not allowed in all the states, so the Secretary of Defense authorized them “basket leave” to get married in another state. He’s trying to take care of these people. It’s not causing any concern to my knowledge, and I haven’t heard a peep about it.
Read the full interview here.