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Marines with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, participate in a fire team competition here Jan. 25. Training evolutions, like the fire team competition, are necessary to help the battalion build teamwork in preparation for their upcoming deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt

1/2 challenges Marines to test themselves

11 Feb 2008 | Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt

Marines constantly strive to sharpen and hone their warfighting skills. A mission’s success often relies on the ability of a fire team to continue beyond their known physical limitations. The team constantly pushes themselves to set new goals and standards for each member.

 The annual fire team competition pushed the Marines to reach beyond their limitations from 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, here Jan. 25.

 The competition course stretched along the surrounding battalion areas and included an obstacle course, combat fitness test, basic skills test, weapons assembly test, map station and a casualty evacuation challenge. The event tested the Marines’ physical stamina, individual skill proficiency, small unit leadership and their drive to win.

 “Winning the competition gives the Marines something to look forward to when the battalion commander recognizes them at a battalion formation,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jayson Franco, Mobile Assault Platoon sergeant with Weapons Company.

 However, it is more than just competing to win for the Marines. Franco said it is a wake-up call for the Marines because it shows them the areas they are weak in and an opportunity to improve themselves.

 Each event tested the teams’ ability to complete the mission at hand. Lance Cpl. Anthony Clark, a fire team leader with Weapons Company, said the best team is the one with the whole package.

 “I wanted a good team that could run fast and knew their knowledge,” said Clark, who deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom last year. “If you know your team, you know how far they can be pushed.”

 The Marines of the battalion showed no signs of weakness or failure in a competition designed to break them down, Clark said. Though the competition may seem small and

 unimportant to some, it was a good way to determine a fire team’s drive.

 “The course demanded a lot out of the Marines,” Clark said. “You get to see how tired the Marines get and if they will continue with the task at hand.”

 The combat veteran added that in Iraq a Marine tires easily and still knows what he needs to do and does it.

 “Marines should apply the same mindset to any training evolution,” Clark said. “If Marines don’t go through the little things like the competition, they won’t be as well prepared to complete things in an orderly manner.”

 Training evolutions, like the fire team competition, are necessary to help the battalion build teamwork in preparation for their upcoming deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.