II MEF Continues Dragnet on Drug Use

16 Jan 2013 | Capt. Binford Strickland

Major Gen. Ray Fox, Commanding General II Marine Expeditionary Force, remains determined to counter the drug threat against II MEF Marines and Sailors.

In mid-December 2012, the first phase of the II MEF Counter Drug Campaign was completed after a 100 percent MEF-wide urinalysis on Nov. 30, 2012, yielded more than 37,000 samples.

Fox enacted this campaign to reinforce the Marine Corps substance abuse program and to preserve the force and its readiness in support of Commandant of the Marine Corps General James F. Amos' intent of "getting the Corps back on a heading of True North."

"The campaign is our commitment to the American people to preserve the most valuable treasure they have entrusted us ... their sons and daughters," said Fox, a Spokane, Wash., native and 36-year Marine.

The counterdrug campaign reflects the service's zero-tolerance policy and is meant to have traumatic effects on the drug threat across the MEF. Marines and sailors who submit samples that test positive for illegal or controlled substances may face disciplinary action.

Fox said these individuals may be prosecuted and will be processed for administrative separation, according to the Marine Corps Separation and Retirement Manual, Marine Corps Order P1900.61F.

"I want to be clear about our ever-present responsibilities as leaders to uphold the enduring tenets of the U.S. Constitution and the Military Justice System," Fox said.

Each case will be individually and thoroughly investigated, carefully assessed and fully processed, which includes the presumption of innocence and the right to due process.

During the administrative separation process, a board composed of officers and senior enlisted Marines will determine whether the Marine or Sailor has committed misconduct, such as the illegal use or possession of a controlled substance.

If the misconduct is substantiated, the service member may receive an other than honorable discharge.

In addition to the lifelong stigma and difficulties associated with such a discharge, the Marine or Sailor will likely lose most benefits administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, to include the G.I. Bill, according to II MEF Operational Law Officer Capt. Ronald W. Chapman II.

"The Marine or Sailor may also be criminally charged and face a special or general court-martial, in which case a panel of members or a military judge may sentence someone convicted of use, possession, manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance to up to five years imprisonment along with a dishonorable discharge or bad conduct discharge for each specified offense," Chapman explained.

Results of this urinalysis and future drug screenings will be published in subsequent articles.

Marines and Sailors are asked to join in this fight and report drug activity to our recently created Counter Drug Task Force at 910-450-9942.