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Photo Information

Lt. Col. Derek E. Lane, the commanding officer for 8th Communication Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, gives a post-event speech to his Marines following the company’s Trash Dash event aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, July 11, 2014. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Lucas J. Hopkins/Released).

Photo by Pfc. Lucas J. Hopkins

Marines take a new approach on cleaning

11 Jul 2014 | Lance Cpl. Lucas Hopkins

Marines with 8th Communication Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force, conducted physical training a little differently aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, July 11, 2014.

On Friday morning the Marines were surprised by Lt. Col. Derek Lane, the commanding officer of 8th Comm. Bn., with a new spin on battalion PT. Instead of a run, Lane had the Marines compete against one another to see who could collect the most trash.

The battalion was broken up into platoon-sized elements and was given a 90 minute window to collect as much trash as possible throughout French Creek. The company that collected the most trash was rewarded with a three day weekend.

“I was looking for a way to incentivize area clean up in the battalion’s area of operation,” said Lane. “The event facilitates camaraderie while also fostering healthy competition within the battalion.”

Company commanders coordinated their own routes for the event. Lane said, as long as the battalion didn’t cheat by taking trash from dumpsters, there were no rules on how the different companies acquired their trash.

“I thought we were going to run, but when I found out we were doing this, it seemed like it would be fun,” said Sgt. Joshua Brown, a multichannel equipment repairman with Service Company.

As soon as the Marines broke formation, they sprinted for trash bags, racing to gather as much garbage as possible. Some Marines brought back truckloads of trash, which included mattresses, wooden crates, and desk drawers. After more than 90 minutes of accumulating litter from the area of operation and neighboring areas in French Creek, the six respective companies had enough trash to fill the backs of seven Humvees, and then some.

At the end of the competition 8th Comm. Bn. collected a total of 25.73 tons of trash.

“I wasn’t expecting all of this,” said Lane. “I figured Marines would be picking up cigarette butts, not bringing back couches.”

It was Lane’s first battalion level PT since taking command June 13, 2014. He said his goal for the exercise was to exemplify his idea of ownership. For the Marines, Lane, wanted them to take pride and ownership in where they live and work.

“My command philosophy is based on one primary tenant – ownership,” said Lane. “I am always looking to reinforce ownership.”

Lane also said he plans to hold the Trash Dash twice a year, reinforcing his idea of ownership, and keeping his battalion’s area of operations sanitary.