Photo Information

Marines, loaded with packs and weapons, stay aligned in formation while hiking at the Edson Range Complex here June 25. The six-mile hike was the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit's first since returning from a sea deployment in April.

Photo by Pfc. Danny Shaffer

Hike starts unit's early conditioning

25 Jun 2010 | Cpl. Elyssa Quesada 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Seventy-four Marines and four Navy hospital corpsmen hiked six miles at the Edson Range Complex here June 25 as part of early conditioning for a later deployment.

Members of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit's command element, which returned from a sea deployment in April, marched across bending terrain and up and down dirt slopes to a halfway turnabout.

The course proved to be more challenging for two or three hikers, but every Marine successfully marched to the end, encouraged by one another throughout a two-column formation that held relatively tight - even after breathing grew heavier each mile.

"I was hurting but kept going, one foot in front of the other," said Pfc. Jason Almanza, 20, from Phoenix.

Keeping the Marines at one arm's intervals, a handful of staff noncommissioned officers between the columns barked orders, punctuating the rhythmic crunching of dirt beneath boots and a disciplined hush among hikers.

"It was a good hike. You could feel the camaraderie throughout the group," said Almanza, a unit embarkation clerk new to the unit.

"The Marines did an excellent job. The unit hasn't hiked since before (its last) deployment," said Col. Michael Hudson, who took command in May. "Now is a good opportunity for the Marines to start conditioning again."

Hike officer in charge Capt. Brennan Simi said the unit's next hike will be July 23: an 8-miler with increased terrain challenges.

Marine Corps News

Colonel Thomas M. Siverts
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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
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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit