MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
A rainbow of kayaks spread across the Gottschalk Marina aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 8, 2011, as Marines and sailors of Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, splashed, paddled and raced their way to the finish line in one of the first events of a battalion wide-tournament called the Commander’s Cup.
“I don’t have any kayak experience at all,” said Lance Cpl. Michael E. Warren, a combat camera man with 2nd Marine Division. “I did however grow up along the rivers of Illinois where I did a lot of canoeing, so I think that will be helpful.”
A horn blasted and they were off. Oars cut deeply through the cool, Camp Lejeune waters as the service members battled to reach the first of three checkpoints. Upon reaching it, they turned their kayaks around and paddled backwards. Several kayaks capsized and Marines began swimming for the docks while others pushed toward the second checkpoint. From there, it was smooth sailing to a giant yellow pontoon and then back to the starting line.
“It was a lot of fun, but much harder than I expected it to be,” said Lance Cpl. Andrew Edwards, a barracks manager with the battalion.
As one of the first events of the Commanders Cup, the kayak race set a precedence of competition and fun for further events in the upcoming series of challenges.
The tournament spans the course of several months and encompasses a variety of different events from beach volleyball to combat water polo. The competition is scheduled to finish with a final battalion field meet on June 24 with awards for the winning teams and participants.
“The Commander’s Cup was put together to build camaraderie among the battalion,” said Cpl. Jacqueline D. Holcomb, the substance abuse control office for Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division. “It also gives Marines and sailors a better idea what there is to do around base."