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Marines stay fit and in the fight with field day

13 Oct 2006 | Lance Cpl. David A. Weikle

With nearly 231 years serving the American people, Marines take pride in the rich heritage, customs and traditions of their Corps.  Early in recruit training, future Marines learn that living in a clean environment is part of that tradition.

After becoming Marines, they take their early teachings to their new life in the barracks where they face the constant reminder of the need for a hygienic living environment. Although it is one of the most unpopular traditions in the Corps, “field day,” as it is called, is the one night of the week Marines focus exclusively on cleaning their living and work areas.

“We ‘field day’ so Marines have a clean and healthy place to live,” said Cpl. Christian Bejarano, a warehouse clerk with Headquarters Company, Headquarters Battalion.  “We make Marines clean on a specific day to ensure they do it.”

Bejarano, who joined the Corps in Nov. 2003, has nearly three years of experience and two past duty stations behind him which reinforced the importance of field day.

“When I was in Okinawa the standards were very different,” explained the Weehawken, N.J., native, who was assigned there from July 2005 to 2006. “If you could move something, like a wall locker or secretary, you had to clean under it because they would check there.  Attention to detail was very important.”

Bejarano said while the standards in Japan were more strict than anywhere else he was stationed, some of the things inspectors look for remain the same.

“They check for dust, mold and mildew making sure the room and (bathroom) are both clean and presentable,” the 1997 Weehawken High School graduate explained.  “They look for these things so the room is a healthy place to live.”

Rooms in the barracks are inspected the morning after field day.  A list of room failures along with the discrepancies is posted and Marines living in the rooms are re-inspected the next day before being allowed to go on liberty.

“It seems like a punishment to make Marines get re-inspected, but it’s really for their own good,” explained Bejarano, the son of Maria E. Bejarano.  “It teaches Marines to get the job done right the first time so they don’t waste anyone’s time.”

Bejarano said he understands why Marines fail field day inspections, although the solution is quite simple.

“Marines have to know and understand what the standards are for a ‘clean’ room,” said Bejarano, who joined the Corps six years after graduating high school.  “Letting Marines know what the set standards are and what is expected of them ensures they clean thoroughly.”

Though field day may not be one of the most popular traditions among Marines, it is something which is sure to be around for years to come.

“’Field day’ might not be fun, but it’s still very important it gets done every week,” Bejarano said. “We do it so Marines can live in a clean and healthy environment.”