Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class James Evans reads Marine Corps Times at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan. (Sgt. Eric D. Warren/Marine Corps)
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Marine Corps Times will be returned to its usual newsstand location at base exchange stores after an abrupt decision to move the independent newspaper away from checkout lines proved unpopular and raised questions about motive.
The Marine Corps said the move was meant to “professionalize” the front of exchange stores, but its timing generated strong reaction from Marines and media outlets who questioned whether it was related to the newspaper’s critical reporting about Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Jim Amos.
“Reaction to the Marine Corps Times’ relocation demonstrated a clear misunderstanding of intent; therefore, the product will return to its original location pending the outcome and communication of a more comprehensive, purposeful plan based on our Commandant’s intent as it relates to an emphasis on professionalism within our Corps,” Gen. John Paxton Jr., assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, said in a statement released Wednesday on the service’s official Facebook page.
Last fall, Amos announced a “reawakening” campaign to reinforce standards and discipline in barracks life. The decision to move Marine Corps Times away from customers was part of a move to “professionalize the front areas of our stores,” Maj. Shawn Haney, spokeswoman for Manpower & Reserve Affairs, said last week.
“Our Reawakening Campaign is too important to have it diminished, or us distracted, by confusion associated with motive or false assumptions,” Paxton said in Wednesday’s statement. “Shelf space will likely be required at some point to make room for healthier food and beverage choices, as well as military literature from the Commandant’s Reading List, Marine Corps University, Marine Total Fitness program and the like.”
Marine Corps Times will continue to cover the plan as it develops.