Story by Sgt Jessika Braden on 08/12/2019Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command leaders began a barracks renovation effort in order to consolidate MARFORCOM Marines by mid-September 2019 and provide resources at a closer proximity in Camp Elmore, Norfolk, Va.
The barracks was built in the 1970's, and in its most recent years housed Marines with Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team, Marine Corps Security Forces Regiment. The FAST Marines later relocated to Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, Va. Since late June 2019, MARFORCOM Marines have worked to renovate and prepare their new rooms.
"Our Marine volunteers, civilian counterparts, and I have been working really hard to make these rooms as nice as possible for the Marines moving in," said Cpl. Kenneth Rodriguez Colon, a carpenter and barracks manager with H&S battalion, who supervises and supports the renovation effort. "I was given this opportunity to improve the living quarters where our Marines and I will be living; something not many Marines experience in their careers."
The renovation effort includes repainting walls, replacing carpet, fixing broken or old bathroom fixtures such as sinks and toilets, as well as refurnishing the rooms.
"I feel really proud because a lot of time and effort has been put into the renovation," Rodriquez Colon said. "Being closer to work will save Marines gas money, and gives them the opportunity to exercise small-unit leadership; having field day together, as well as going to the gym and chow hall together."
H&S battalion is also installing a shaded grilling pit, renovating the basketball court, creating an additional recreation center, and establishing a wellness center within the barracks where Marines will be able to seek help for physical and mental health.
"As we look at the Commandant's planning guidance, I think that by taking our dispersed Marines and consolidating them here on Camp Elmore, we are meeting his intent and focusing our effort in getting to the fundamentals of being Marines," said Col. Mark R Reid, the H&S battalion commanding officer. "We are focusing on our small unit leadership, esprit de corps, camaraderie, and being ready to fight and win our nation's wars."
MARFORCOM leaders anticipate that consolidating the Marines in one location where resources such as a fitness, dining, and wellness facility are readily available will give the Marines a sense of pride, and provide more opportunities for Marines to look after and mentor one another.