California Marine base may lose 8 percent of personnel

File: U.S. Marines with 1st Platoon, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines (3/5), Regimental Combat Team 2, in Afghanistan.
File: U.S. Marines with 1st Platoon, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines (3/5), Regimental Combat Team 2, in Afghanistan. Corporal David R. Hernandez/3rd Battalion 5th Marines-RCT 2

Officials at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center say they could lose 8 percent of their personnel as part of the expected drawdown of troops in Afghanistan.

Base spokesman Jason Smith tells the Riverside Press-Enterprise that about 840 Marines attached to the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines were slated to be deactivated at the end of May. Another 245 Marines connected with an unmanned aerial vehicle squadron will move to Hawaii this summer.

About 13,000 Marines are currently stationed at the desert center 130 miles east of Los Angeles. Smith says 3rd Battalion Marines will be reassigned to other units.

The 932-square-mile base trains Marines in combat exercises. Several mock villages have been built at the base designed to train Marines to interact with locals in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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