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HADITHA, Iraq ? Staff Sgt. John Wear, staff noncommissioned-officer-in-charge of the Intelligence section, Headquarters and Service Company, Task Force 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 2, assists a fellow Marine with his bench press in the gym located in the Hadithah forward operating base.

Photo by Cpl. Rick Nelson

Marines stay in shape during deployment

23 Aug 2007 | Cpl. Rick Nelson

Whether in the field, deployed, or in garrison, Marines and sailors constantly train to ensure they stay in top physical condition.

It can be difficult to physically train while in a combat zone. There aren’t any gyms like there are in garrison, and operational tempo may create schedules that don’t allow for much time to work out. However, even with limited resources and assets, Marines and sailors of Task Force 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 2, manage to train and maintain military standards.

Throughout Task Force, 1/3, Marines and sailors can be found in makeshift gyms using the resources available to maintain proper physical conditioning.

“We try and work out as much as possible,” said Cpl. Theodore A. Gina, noncommissioned officer in charge of the administration section of Headquarters and Service Company, 1/3. “My gunny has some of the Marines from our shop on a strict workout schedule.”

Located in Hadithah, Gina works out in a small yet adequate gym the Marines built for themselves.

Lifting weights is a large aspect of what Marines and sailors do to stay in shape, while running and cardiovascular training is a little harder to come by in the combat outposts.

“It's tough to do a lot of cardio because we can’t just go out and run wherever we want,” said Gine, a Union, N.J., native.

Aside from his daily conditioning, Gina said he also quit smoking to increase his physical fitness.

“It's not just about being bigger. It’s also about having a healthier lifestyle and proving something to yourself,” added the 26-year-old.

Gina said he hopes to continue to improve throughout the remainder of the deployment, and he thinks his PFT (physical fitness test) score will increase upon return to Hawaii.

“My goals when I started working out were to get my body in better shape and to someday be able to run a 300 PFT,” said Gina.

Lance Cpl. Jeremy R. Staat, a machine gunner with 3rd Squad, 4th Platoon, Bravo Company, 1/3, said his Marines get a cardiovascular workout when they conduct foot patrols.

“In our gym, we have a stationary bike and a stair-stepper, but most of the cardio workouts we get are when we go out in Hadithah and patrol for a few hours with all of our gear on,” said Staat. “Anything the Marines can do to stay in shape, they do.”

Staat, a Bakersfield, Calif., native, said the conditions while deployed seem ideal for getting in shape.

“We get three meals a day and can snack in between. Once we’re done with our work, we can go hit the gym,” Staat said. “All you have to do is be motivated. A lot of Marines expect to see results immediately after they start working out. When they don’t, they’ll want to quit. If they stick with it, then they’ll see a change and will be more and more motivated to go to the gym.”

Aside from getting the Marines and sailors in shape, the gym is described as a blessing for other reasons.

“It’s a great place for the Marines to go and relieve stress, make time go by faster, or just get things off of their mind,” said the 30-year-old Staat. “It also gives us a way to compete with each other. Marines are very competitive, so it’s perfect.”

Staat recalled a day when the gym was closed for a short amount of time.

“The Marines seemed to be going crazy,” said Staat. “It’s times like that when you realize how truly important the gym and working out are to all of us. We’re Marines. We’re expected