BLT 3/1 conquers bayonet course during Hawaii training

8 May 2007 | Sgt. Brian J. Griffin 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Rain drizzles and the hot, humid, tropical air sticks to their skin as 40 Marines press through an environment that mirrors a postcard from an exotic paradise.Water drips from huge green leaves into red muddy puddles while tropical birds chirp from their hidden perches in luscious trees and bushes.The Marines from Battalion Landing Team 3/1 are hot, wet and tired. The air around them is filled with the musky stench of wet gear and sweat as they move through this new land--an extreme contrast from the arid climate they are used to at Camp Pendleton, Calif. They've sailed more than 2,100 nautical miles aboard ships with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) and Belleau Wood Amphibious Ready Group to the tropical atmosphere of Hawaii, a popular tourist destination. But for these Marines, sightseeing isn't the only thing on their mind. They push thoughts of the paradise they're surrounded by to the back of their minds and focus on their basic warrior instincts. They are here to refresh their attack and defense tactics in a bayonet assault course at Schofield Army Barracks on the Island of Oahu, June 22. These modern day warriors from the sea are preceded by men who used some of these same tactics while fighting in the trenches of legendary battles in World War I and other battles scattered throughout Marine Corps history."As warriors I hope it makes them appreciate what some of the Marines did during trench warfare," said GySgt. Howard Payne, company gunnery sergeant, headquarters and service company, BLT 3/1, 11th MEU (SOC).Rain drizzles as the Marines receive a class on proper weapon carries and watch demonstrations of the more than 15 stations they have to conquer in order to complete the bayonet assault course slick with rain.With sweat beading off their foreheads, they sprint through the obstacles wearing full battle gear. They assault rubber human-like dummies, hurdle obstacles and crawl through red clay and mud under razor-sharp barbed wire scattered throughout the 800-yard course, challenging the Marines to push themselves harder."The training was challenging," Payne said. "The Marines really have to give it their all."For some Marines overcoming the obstacles is more than an opportunity to flex physical strength. It is also a chance to break out and expose their true warrior spirit."This training gives us a chance to get out here on the course and see what we have inside. We might have to push ourselves a little harder and it gives us an idea what we need to strive for physically and mentally," said Sgt. Carlos Garcia, section wire chief, communications platoon, BLT 3/1, 11th MEU (SOC). Despite stifling humidity, sleeping in the rain and having their bodies covered with mud, the Marines enjoyed the chance to do the training."It was good training and a lot of fun," Garcia said. "It's been a long time since I've done this type of training."

Marine Corps News

Colonel Thomas M. Siverts
Commanding Officer

Colonel Tom Siverts is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1989. He achieved a commission as a Second Lieutenant through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program following his graduation from the University of Virginia in May 1999. Colonel Siverts has deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. His other operational deployments include serving with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/8, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU); BLT 3/8, 22d MEU; BLT 2/8, 26th MEU, and Task Force 61/2.

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Lieutenant Col. Steven M. Sprigg
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LtCol Sprigg was born in Parkersburg, WV. LtCol Sprigg enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in September 2004 and recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. LtCol Sprigg was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March 2008. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 2011 and reported to HMLAT-303 for training as an AH-1W pilot. LtCol Sprigg is currently serving as the Executive Officer for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Camp Pendleton, California.

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Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major DeBarrĀ enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.Staff Sergeant DeBarr completed two combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2005 to April 2006 and again form March 2007 to September 2007. While serving with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, First Sergeant DeBarr completed one combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from October 2012 to May 2013. Sergeant Major DeBarr currently serves as the Sergeant Major for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

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