MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- As the sun rose over Camp Lejeune, Lance Cpl. Terril A. Clark could see numerous figures moving in the dim light while his squad ran down Julian C. Smith Road here. Muffled voices could be heard on the chilled morning air as he and his Marines strove to win the squad competition relay.
Clark and the Marines of 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, participated in the competition here, which provided the battalion’s Marines with training in preparation for upcoming deployments to Iraq. It encouraged them to work together to complete the course.
“The nonstop movement to get from station to station, which are far apart, and mental aspects of the competition are what makes the training so hard,” explained the Alexander, La., native, speaking about the many obstacles the Marines faced during the morning’s competition.
He and his group of Marines, wearing woodland camouflage utilities, flak jackets and kevlars, made their way down a long road toward the basic combat first aid station, preparing themselves mentally for the tasks ahead.
At the first aid station the Marines treated basic and common first aid scenarios and carried a wounded servicemember to a mock landing zone on a stretcher.
“This training is extremely critical because if a corpsman is not there, it is up to the Marines themselves to take care of each other,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Lucky J. Frietas, a Ccorpsman with the battalion. “There are usually only two corpsmen for one Marine platoon, which means that if your buddy needs to be treated you might be the only one there that can help him.”
Clark treated the corpsman with a mock sucking chest wound then yelled to his Marines to get the “wounded” sailor to the “LZ”. The Marines picked up the corpsman and ran across the field to the landing zone.
“All the Marines were motivated and ready to learn,” Frietas said. “I think it is because they know they might have to use the information they are learning today, in real combat.”
The Marines competing in the squad relay worked for an overall grade from the stations including an obstacle course, memory training, immobile-humvee removal, basic combat first aid and physical fitness.
“For the memory training we had to look at a map of cities in Iraq and memorize landmarks, roads and other information in a small amount of time,” Clark explained.
After looking at the information from the memory station, the squad was to compete in a totally different station and come back and tell the instructor exactly what they recalled from earlier. He explained that this is what made the training fun and challenging at the same time. Clark described all the stations as being fun but ultimately important.
All of the Marines participating in the competition worked together to learn what they needed to know, which only helps them learn, Clark explained.
The training the battalion put on is what makes the battalion and the squads themselves better prepared and more cohesive, which Clark believes is exactly what the unit needs before its next deployment to Iraq.