The United States Marine Corps reminds local residents to respect the Combat Center’s base boundaries when off-roading near the installation. Individuals have a personal and legal responsibility to avoid trespassing on the Combat Center.
Contact the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Resource Management Group at 760-830-3737 or email
Last week, Major General Roger Turner held a virtual town hall to address concerns about COVID-19 on board the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms. While the base does not release specific numbers of cases of infected individuals on board the base, he did say that the base has been able to hold down the numbers to low single digits until recently when it rose to high teens. Managing editor Tami Roleff says nevertheless, the commanding general is proud of how well the base’s Marines, sailors, families, and employees are doing in this pandemic…
“I think what we’ve been able to prove over these past few months is that our procedures that we have put in place are working.”
Major General Roger Turner, the commanding general of the Combat Center, told listeners at his virtual town hall meeting that by following guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control, the Department of Defense, and by state and local authorities, the base has been able to keep its numbers of positive COVID-19 cases low.
“Wearing of the masks, maintaining your distance from people, washing your hands, keeping things clean around you, and if you get sick, isolating yourself, reporting for treatment, and then essentially having no interaction with anybody if you are sick.”
In addition, Turner urged Marines and their families to follow these guidelines even when they are not on the base.
“It’s incumbent on Marines and their families that they continue to sustain the practices that we apply on base even when you’re interacting with the local community.”
And he had one final piece of advice for everyone.
“We need to learn to live with this virus; it’s here to stay and it’s going to be around with us for awhile.”
The Marine Corps is downsizing to become a lighter and faster fighting force. As part of that effort, the Marines are disbanding its three tank battalions, including 1st Tank Battalion that was stationed at Twentynine Palms. Managing editor Tami Roleff has more information about the move…
Last week, you may have seen huge semis hauling Marine Corps tanks on the highways of the Morongo Basin. The move is part of a plan announced in March by Marine Corps Commandant David Berger to redesign the Corps to make it a lighter and faster force to fight overseas. Berger’s plan will eliminate three tank battalions, including 1st Tanks at the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center. The Marines at 1st Tank Battalion on board the Combat Center removed tanks from the base last week. The other tank battalions are 2nd Tanks in Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, and 4th Tanks, a reserve unit in New Orleans.
Berger’s plan will reduce the size of the Marine Corps by 12,000 Marines and will include the elimination of law enforcement battalions. It will also cut the number of infantry battalions, artillery cannon batteries, amphibious vehicle companies, and aviation squadrons. The changes are expected to take 10 years before the Marine Corps has fully reduced in size.
The Marine Corps Force Reduction Plan would:
Get rid of all of the Corps’ tank battalions and associated Military Occupational Specialties, law enforcement battalions, and bridging companies.
Reduce the number of infantry battalions from 24 to 21.
Go from 21 to 5 cannon batteries.
Cut the number of amphibious vehicle companies from 6 to 4.
Cut back all tilt rotor, attack, and heavy lift squadrons.
Deactivate Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 264; Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462; Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469; Marine Wing Support Groups 27 and 37; 8th Marine Regiment Headquarters Company; and 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines.
Realign 1st Battalion, 8th Marines to 2nd Marines; and 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines to 6th Marines.
Deactivate Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367 and relocating it to Camp Pendleton, California.
Cancel the activation of 5th Battalion, 10th Marines. Its assigned batteries will realign under existing 10th Marine Regiment structure.
Cut the number of F-35B and C Joint Strike Fighters from 16 to 10 per squadron.
The Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center has sent a fire crew to San Diego to help fight the fire on board the Navy ship in port. The Bonhomme Richard has been burning at its pier since Sunday morning. Managing editor Tami Roleff has more information…
Just a few hours after leaving the Combat Center Tuesday morning, a crew of four firefighters was helping about 400 other firefighters battle the blaze that has been burning on board the Navy ship Bonhomme Richard since Sunday morning. Assistant Chief Marcelino Ryan told Z107.7 News that the crew—Lt. James Carroll, and firefighters Jonathan Hart, Luis Flores, and Edward Martinez (who just left the Navy as a firefighter about five months ago and was hired by the Combat Center Fire Department three months ago) are on board the ship for about 45 minutes at a time—15 minutes to get to the fire, 15 minutes to fight the fire, and another 15 minutes to get out. Because the fire is so deep in the ship, the smoke and flames have nowhere to go; temperatures reach 900 to 1000 degrees inside, and the smoke is thick and hazardous.
When the crew comes off the ship, they assigned for a couple hours to a rapid intervention crew that would go on board to rescue trapped or lost firefighters. They are then given a one- or two- hour rest break, before going back on the ship as firefighters again.
Ryan expects the crew to be in San Diego until Friday; at which time another crew will be rotated in to replace them.
The blaze has melted the interior aluminum core of the ship, containing the bridge and primary flight control spaces, and the ship’s radar masts have also collapsed. It’s still not known how the fire started, but it got out of control because the ship’s fire suppression system was also under maintenance when the blaze started.
A Marine who caused major property damages while driving under the influence was arrested early Sunday morning. Neighbors called deputies to the 5900 block of Mojave Avenue in Twentynine Palms at 1:20 Sunday morning because a driver, later identified as Luis Aguilar, 26, had crashed into multiple vehicles. According to the Sheriff’s report, Aguilar peeled out of a driveway, lost control of his vehicle, overcorrected and hit a brick wall in front of a home. His vehicle then hit a parked vehicle in the driveway, pushing it through a closed garage door. Aguilar then back out of the driveway at a high rate of speed, lost control again, backed through a chain link fence on the opposite side of the street, and came to rest against another vehicle. The report states that Aguilar’s blood alcohol level was .254, or more than three times the legal limit of .08. Luis Aguilar was arrested, cited, and released to military police on board the Combat Center.