Camp Pendleton, Calif. --
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.