FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELARAM II, Afghanistan --
Marines are synonymous with physical fitness and endurance. It doesn’t matter that they’re deployed to a combat zone, Marines like to stay fit. It’s what allows them to deal with any situation quickly, cleanly and when necessary with violence.
“Pain retains,” said Master Sgt. Jamie Ramirez, 38, S-1 chief, Regimental Combat Team 6, from Los Angeles, Calif. “If you’re not working out till it hurts, you ain’t doing it right.”
Most Marines pride themselves on being physically fit, regardless of age, rank, gender or duty. Since all Marines must pass an annual Physical Fitness Test and an annual Combat Fitness Test, most sections or shops will train together to build cohesion. Lifting weights, running, or doing endless repetitions of every imaginable exercise – all so Marines can maintain the reputation as elite fighting warriors.
While exercise is important to any service member maintaining weight and fitness standards, however, Marines in a deployed environment have to balance physical training and difficult work hours in order to stay fit.
“Marines don’t stop, no matter what. When we train, we give it everything we got,” said Sgt. Christopher Bangert, 25, wire chief, RCT-6, from Richmond, Va. “Our training is the hardest! Our boot camp is the longest! We’re the best!”
Physical Training comes in many forms on Forward Operating Base Delaram II. Inside of the newly constructed gym, Marines can push themselves with weight training. They can also run the roads on the inside of the base go on a conditioning run. Another option is martial arts training, which every Marine is required to know the basics.
“The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program is arguably the toughest hand to hand combat system in the American militaries,” Staff Sgt. Frederick Mayes said, 36, personnel chief, RCT-6, from Daytona Beach. “We teach the Marines how to be deadly without a rifle, and staying in shape is a big aspect of it.”
Besides martial arts and weight training, team sports are another popular avenue for fitness. When the weather is nice you can find Marines on the basketball court having a good time
“Coming out to the court, trash-talking, having fun, it’s all good natured,” Bangert said. “Rank don’t matter on the court, so you can have some fun with your juniors and seniors and it’s not awkward.”
Training or playing sports also allows different units to come together, compete and meet Marines from other shops and units.
“It’s a way to build camaraderie and to get to know one another in a non-work environment,” Gunnery Sgt. LeMarcus L. Staley, 35, infantry unit leader, Regimental Combat Team 6, from Oklahoma City, Okla. “It’s also a way to relax, we’re in a high stress setting and being able to have fun together is important.”