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Civilian contractors rebuild obstacle course for 1/9 Marines and sailors

16 Nov 2006 | Lance Cpl. David A. Weikle

It stands as a monument to physical fitness and endurance. Made of iron, wood and rope, the obstacle course sends a silent challenge to all Marines saying, “You can’t beat me.”

The course must first be built before Marines can brave this challenge. A group of civilian contractors recently re-built an obstacle course for 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment as part of a larger project of base renovations and additions.

The new course appears much like its counterparts here and is placed near the corner of G Street and River Road. One difference sets it apart.

“This course is dog-legged,” explains Jerry Martin, a quality control manager at the construction site. “We designed it to be bent in the middle, taking into account the terrain and the security of nearby structures.”

A thick layer of fine grain sand covers the path of the course, waiting to be driven in by boots, and soaked in ‘blood, sweat and tears’ of Marines and sailors who will run the wide range of events.

“This course could possibly last 20-30 years,” said Ed Erichsen, the project manager. “This is just a small part of the overall project, but we’re glad to do our part to support the troops here and overseas.”

Before finishing the site, workers will make an addition in the form of a 4,200 square foot judo pit, where Marines will hone their Marine Corps Martial Arts Program combat skills. Workers will line the pit with six inches of finely shredded, recycled tires, to protect Marines while continuing to push the limits of their bodies.

The construction of the obstacle course and its complimentary judo pit were scheduled for later this year, however recent events changed those plans.

“The battalion returned from deployment and we were told to have the course up and running as soon as possible,” Erichsen explained. “We re-used existing materials and worked all through the night to make sure it got finished on time. We were happy to do this as a way of
saying ‘Thank you,’ for all they’ve done for us.”