An official at Marine Corps Headquarters in Virginia tells WITN that projected cuts to the number of troops stationed aboard Camp Lejeune has not been decided.
"There is a lot of rumor and conjecture right now about cutbacks. However, nothing has been officially decided," said Lieutenant Colonel Chris Hughes to WITN's Carly Swain Tuesday morning. "The Corps has been forthright about inevitable cut backs, but they will balance those cuts with allowing Marines to finish their tours of duty."
LtCol. Hughes was responding to a report that some battalions at Camp Lejeune would be cut. The Jacksonville Daily News reported the base in Jacksonville will lose 7,000 troops between 2012 and 2016.
"Once the bottle stops spinning, we'll likely be cut down to 180,000, [which is] more than before wartime," Hughes said.
Hughes had this advice for Camp Lejeune Marines: "There's plenty of speculation. Cuts will come, but listen to your command. Listen for General Amos for direction and information."
The Jacksonville Daily News reports the base is projected to lose 7,000 troops between 2012 and 2016.
The paper says all three battalions from the 9th Marine Regiment, one artillery battalion, and the 2nd maintenance and 2nd supply battalions will be deactivated. The 9th Marine Regiment was re-activated in 2007 to increase military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Marine Corps is downsizing from 202,000 troops to 186,000 nationwide.
Cutting troops from Camp Lejeune is a reversal of fortunes for Jacksonville, who for the past few years, has been rapidly developing for an influx of marines.