It was just over a month ago that we noted the Marines are spending about $180,000 per bedroom in the new living quarters they’re building for their greenest troops at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Now the Los Angeles Times weighs in on similar pads opening up for West Coast Marines at California’s Camp Pendleton:
The two-person rooms, at 220 square feet, could pass for college dormitories. If a Marine has too much stuff for his closet, there is more space beneath his lift-up mattress — giving rise to the appellation “coffin rack” to describe the bed. In the common areas are pool tables, a computer room (with Wi-Fi), laundry facilities, a large kitchen, fireplaces, and 60-inch high-definition televisions (with theater seating with drink holders) Outside: horseshoe pits, tennis courts, a nine-hole disc golf course, roller-hockey court, sand volleyball court, basketball courts, putting green, barbecue grills, shaded picnic area, amphitheater, bicycle storage rack and a “boot wash” where Marines can clean their gear so they don’t track mud into their rooms. In the spirit of “green,” solar panels are on the roof; toilets and landscaping use recycled water; a monitoring system turns off lights when rooms are not in use.
In a press release hailing the opening, the Marine Corps said the new quarters represent “deluxe living conditions.” The $140 million project built 889 rooms — $157,000 per room. “It’s like college dorm rooms,” raved Private First Class Jason Baca. “I feel like I’m living at college right now.”
Enlisted Marines stay in uniform for a shorter time than in the other services, meaning they traditionally have less incentive than the other services to coddle first-term recruits to encourage them to re-enlist.