Photo Information

Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit hike up a hill during a seven mile hike here March 18. The hike was the fifth that the command element conducted in recent months.

Photo by Cpl. Jeffrey Belovarac

Command element hikes Reaper

18 Mar 2009 | Cpl. Jeffrey Belovarac

About 150 Marines and sailors from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit's command element hiked more than seven miles of hills here including one descent notorious for its steepness March 18.

The 11th MEU has been readying for a deployment later this year, and the hike was good conditioning built upon four previous hikes, said targeting information officer and event leader Capt. Brennan Simi.

Following a less hilly 11-miler in January, and marching with packs and rifles, a two-column formation went down the Reaper, a hill recruits climb in boot camp.

"It can get pretty difficult going down the steep hills, especially going down the Reaper" said Lance Cpl. Kenneth D. Ortiz, 21, from Temecula, Calif. "You have to lean backwards to manage the weight. It's not something that feels natural."

"The MEU is multipurpose, so you'll never know when you'll have to hump a pack," said Ortiz.

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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit