Say another country invades the US and attacks various civilian and military targets. Among them is the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, where hundreds of recruits are a month or so into their training to become Marines.
What do these recruits do? Are they used as some kind of support personnel to help assist qualified combat troops? Are they rushed off to a bunker somewhere to hide? Surely they’re not just handed rifles and hurriedly given an ad-hoc crash course in combat?
Are these recruits considered civilians or are they considered part of the military?
If they assist in the defense, survive, and the enemy is beaten back, are they eligible for any kind of commendation or award even though they were not yet actual Marines at the time of the attack?
Are there any kind of contingency plans in the military as to what to do with the recruits if training centers are attacked during a war?
During the invasion of France in WWII a French Cadet School was attacked and the young cadets fought with exceptional bravery.
During the invasion of Germany in WWII a German Cadet School was attacked and the young cadets fought with exceptional bravery.
I can’t back up this past ( separate ) reading, since Google would be of little help not knowing the names of the schools; but I would assume that during invasions everywhere everyone with even minimal positions in the military is expected to do what they can.
Most of the cadets died, in both cases.
As Monty says, they are Marines, not civilians. However, that isn’t to say they would be made to fight and defend the base. The situation would have to get insanely desperate to use recruits in actual base defense. The most likely course of action would be for them to be locked down in the barracks until the emergency is over.
Same on bases where the Soldiers (or Marines) have finished their training. If a base is attacked, those responsible with base defense (MPs most likely in the states; and some kind of Force Protection unit or detail in combat) will do their thing, and everyone else bunkers down for safety and accountability until the situation is over.
My experience in the IDF is completely different: all soldiers are supposed to take part in defending the base. New recruits are expected to fight from the moment they are issued a rifle, one week into basic training (which is also when they start performing regular guard duty). All armed personnel serving in a base are assigned positions and tasks in the event of an attack, and if they haven’t been, when the shooting starts they’re responsible for finding an officer as quickly as possible and following his or her lead.
Saumur’s cavalry school, in the french case. They tried to defend passages of the Loire river for three days, along with some other elements in training in the area, after the refusal of the school commanding officer to withdraw, as he had been ordered to.
Instead of taking them prisonner, the Germans let the cadets themselves leave with honours, 18th century style, at the end of the battle.
“What do these recruits do? Are they used as some kind of support personnel to help assist qualified combat troops? Are they rushed off to a bunker somewhere to hide? Surely they’re not just handed rifles and hurriedly given an ad-hoc crash course in combat?”
While by Marine Corps standards trainees are recruits, not yet Marines, they definitely belong to the Marine Corps. The units to which they are attached are not combat units. Ergo, these training platoons and battalions wouldn’t have much to fight with, to say nothing of the fact the recruits haven’t finished boot camp and obligatory infantry training. If they were nearing the end of boot camp, they would, however, have had marksmanship instruction.
In the above scenario, my guess is that they would remain attached to their training platoons/battalions and be place in a purely support role, REMFs to coin a phrase from 60’s jargon. Things would have to get pretty bad before a recruit would be issued live ammo and sent in harm’s way.
A place like PI has a summer recruit population of probably several thousand at any one time. They put 17,000 through the place a year, with more in the summer months following high school graduations than during the winter.
They wouldn’t be all in the same phase of training, so they would range from kids who just got off the bus and had their head shaved, to kids who just learned how to shoot competently, to ones who are about to graduate and move onto further training. The ones who have been there longer would probably be able to handle basic military tasks under close supervision. They however would only have the most rudimentary combat training, as the Marine Corps handles that at the School of Infantry- their next phase of training.
I can’t speak as well for other branches of the service, but I know the Army does what’s called One Station Training. That means that their combat arms’ recruits will transition to the equivalent training with out changing station, or even turning in their drill sergeants.
They’re considered members of the military the second they depart the processing station, and are subject to military discipline.
I imagine so, but I expect the normal channels for awards and commendations who be broken down in such a scenario. But recruits graduate with awards (the GWOT service medal, and the National Defense ribbon) essentially for just showing up.
Get the kids in bunkers, prep them for raid procedures, and carry out training as best as possible. Any such scenario we would need replacements so it would be important to keep the pipeline open.
Interesting. Of course, Israel is sort of a special case - one of those rare countries surrounded by potentially hostile powers with almost no capacity for defense in depth. Most militaries, faced with invasion, can stage fighting withdrawals, let the enemy stretch out his supply lines, and envelope and destroy invading forces at a time and place of their choosing. Israel really can’t, as I understand it - so it’s got rather a tooth-and-nail approach to such things.
There’s that. There’s also the omnipresent possibility of terrorism - training bases have come under attack before, with occasionally tragic results.
But it’s also a doctrinal issue. Soldiers have to be prepared to fight, at all times, because that’s what soldiers do. That’s why recruits are given weapons and ammo as early as possible and sent to stand guard at their own bases, because they have to become accustomed to protecting themselves and their fellow soldiers. It’s also good training - I don’t know how many times during basic training we were woken up at night with shouts of “base attack drill!”; you learn to keep a full vest at all times, and your rapid dressing skills become very finely honed.
I’m surprised that the USMC, with its “every Marine is a rifleman” philosophy, doesn’t have a similar approach.
I’m not a Marine - but I suspect it’s because, recent events aside, attacks on bases in the US are quite rare, our bases are quite far from the national borders, and our relations with our neighboring powers are excellent. We can be much more confident in the safety of Marine recruits than the IDF can.
ETA: Plus, there’s is a degree of risk in issuing weapons early on in training - recruits might do stupid things with them. It may be worth the risk for the IDF, but not the US forces.
I can only speak based upon USMC boot camp as it was in 1969 (I doubt it’s any different tioday). The only ammunition a recruit ever saw/touched was during 2 weeks of marksmanship training. Attending MCRD/SD, which doesn’t have any ranges, this training was at Camp Pendleton. Don’t know about Parris Island. Back to the ammo, it was next to impossible to leave a range area with any live rounds, or even brass for that matter. While recruits were routinely assigned to guard duty with rifles, no ammunition was issued.
Off topic a bit…
Speaking of access to ammunition, the scene in “Full Metal Jacket” in which the DI is shot and the recruit takes his own life, was the only departure from boot camp reality as it existed in 1969, anyway.
This has happened several times in Iraq. Bombings have occurred at recruitment centers and other places trainee soldiers gathered.
I recall one really bad bombing at a graduation ceremony for soldiers. They had just completed training.
They couldn’t fight back since it was a single bomber. But, they were targeted.
American forces have also been at risk* from concealed bombing whilst in the United States ( as, say, were British troops at public dances and in public bars, from the IRA ); but I should guess that ( authorities’ ) expectations of response to disaster and to armed attack would be substantially different. EG: you might be blamed in the latter case for inaction. Or at the very least blame may be deflected downwards by perhaps negligent superiors.
In 1970, Ayers’ then-girlfriend Diana Oughton, along with Weatherman members Terry Robbins and Ted Gold, were killed when a bomb they were constructing exploded unexpectedly. That bomb had been intended for detonation at a dance that was to be attended by army soldiers at Fort Dix, New Jersey.