Photo Information

Sgt. Brandon Keens, intel anaylst with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, sits atop a wall while observing the obstacle course here, July 23. Members of the MEU executed the obstacle course and completed a combat fitness training circuit course to keep with a high standard of physical fitness and readiness.(Photo by: U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jonathan R. Waldman, Combat Camera, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit)

Photo by Cpl Jonathan R. Waldman

11th MEU Stays Physical

23 Jul 2013 | Staff Sgt. Jimmy H. Bention, Jr. 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit took another step into getting back into deployment shape by conducting another physical fitness session here July 23. 

On the heels of a seven-mile hike that the MEU executed July 19, the Marines kept up the motivation by breaking their bodies off once again.  This time it was a two for one special with the MEU being broken up into two teams and one team executed the obstacle course, while the other team conducted a combat fitness circuit course. 

“I have a slight shin splint from the hike,” said Master Sgt. Damany Willingham, 11th MEU communications chief.  “However, my cardio is excellent.  I don’t mind doing this at all.  I can do this all day.” 

The obstacle course has been known to not only improve physical fitness, but build unit cohesion, as the Marines that are not actually running the course cheer on and encourage their comrades who are negotiating each obstacle.  

“It was great getting out there and motivating the Marines throughout the PT session,” said Sgt. Brandon Keens, 11th MEU intel analyst and one of the safety observers for the event. “The experience of being a leader and motivating my fellow Marines inspires me to do better.  It was good seeing Marines who didn’t think they could get over an obstacle overcome their fear and doubt and get over the obstacle.” 

The obstacle course is used to test a Marine’s speed, strength, agility and stamina.  Starting off with clearing a bar and then going down polls, jumping over logs and finishing up with a rope climb, the obstacle course is not for the faint of heart, unless of course you train above and beyond the norm.  

“I like to use the MARSOC short card to get my endurance up,” said Capt. Mario Ortega, 11th MEU embarkation officer who ran through the course seven times in 20 minutes.” It’s a great way to increase your stamina.  There are like 21-22 exercises you do with little rest between each exercise that do wonders to increase stamina.  I like to do it every day.”

 The combat fitness circuit course consisted of four stations: tire flips, ammo lifts and carries, buddy drag and fireman’s carry that were meant to help Marines improve their performance on the combat fitness test. 

 “I haven’t taken my CFT this year yet and I’m glad we did this because this will help me for when I actually do take it,” said Cpl. Rodrigo Ortiz, 11th MEU admin NCOIC.  I liked the obstacle course, but I liked the circuit course way better.”

 Overall the purpose of the training was to increase unit cohesion and camaraderie.

 “It’s good to get everyone out here and build teamwork, motivate each other and work together vice Marines just doing their own thing.” said Lt. Col. Eddy Hansen, 11th MEU executive officer. “We were originally supposed to just do the obstacle course, but it was good on the ops section to throw in some combat fitness training in as well.  It’s motivating because just three days ago we were on a hike, not getting some more training in with boots and utes.  It doesn’t get much better than this.”

 The 11th MEU will continue to get stronger and stronger as a command element, so that when they composite and grow to more than 2,200 Marines, they can lead their subordinate elements flawlessly. 

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
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Sergeant Major DeBarr 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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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit