Another day, another hike

1 Oct 2013 | Lance Cpl. Demetrius Morgan 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

When individuals hear the word hiking, they think of it as a time to leisurely explore different terrains. They think of walking up big hills and mountains at their own pace. 

In the Marine Corps, hiking is one of the foundations of Marine combat conditioning. From the beginning of Marine Corps recruit training, individuals are exposed to hiking and are continuously conditioning themselves for longer and more strenuous hikes. 

The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit uses this basic concept to maintain their mission readiness. On Sept. 27, the 11th MEU participated in a 10-mile hike. 

Hikes are something that the 11th MEU is very familiar with. The goal for them is to participate in a hike once a month. With each passing month the hikes will have different elements to simulate different scenarios that Marines could face while in a combat environment. 

The last hike the MEU did was eight miles in distance. They carried approximately 35 pounds of gear while wearing body armor without sapi plates. This time, the 10-mile hike had Marines wearing body armor with sapi plates, magazines, drop pouch and an IFAK. They also carried an assault pack containing the necessary items for the hike.

“We do these hikes to keep Marines conditioned and ready for any mission that is given,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Lindvall, the 11th MEU fires chief and range safety officer for the evolution. “I think the condition of the MEU as a whole is good, however we do these events to make us better.” 

The quick pace and grueling, unpredictable trail made the hike seem endless, but Marines maintained their bearing and eventually got through the hike. 

Marines finally reached the finishing point of the hike. Faces filled with relief as they quickly rehydrated themselves. Laughter and smiles were put to rest as they proceeded to the next portion of their training. 

The MEU put on their full body armor as they prepared to participate in a table three shoot. 

Table three is also a training exercise that Marines have participated in since Marine Combat Training. 

“We had a table three shoot after the hike to simulate a patrol with combat involved and to add in another training aspect to it,” said Lindvall. “Train like we fight.” 

After a long day of training the commanding officer and sergeant major gave some words of encouragement to their fellow Marines and commended them for a job well-done. Then they boarded the buses and headed back to headquarters.

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
Executive Officer

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 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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