Dutch Marine Corps staff are quitting in droves, leaving the elite unit’s existence in doubt, the Volkskrant reported on Tuesday.
According to figures which will be presented to parliament later this week, some 73 marines, petty officers and officers decided to leave due to other reasons than retirement in the first quarter of this year alone. This is three times as many as in previous years, the paper writes.
The staff’s main gripe is a projected move from the centrally located Doorn to Vlissingen in Zeeland in 2022.
Marine Corps advisory board chairman Bert de Wakker says many partners of the staff members fear they won’t find work in Vlissingen and that they won’t be able to sell their homes there.
The new base also lacks facilities such as adequate shooting ranges and fly paths and that will mean the marines who are already away from home for six months of the year will have to travel to other sites.
‘This will seriously affect the fighting capacity of this country,’ Van Wakker told the paper. The elite navy troops are part of the Dutch special forces which operate in Afghanistan and Mali and train military personnel on the ground.
‘They will also come into action if there is a terrorist attack in this country and it is really vital we keep this force intact,’ chairman Jean Debie of the military union VBM is quoted as saying.
A navy spokesman told the paper ‘Vlissingen’ can be the final push towards finding another job ‘but the navy is now investigating whether this is the main reason for leaving.’
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