MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
A fire team of Marines rushes toward their adversary firing with every opportunity and covering when overwhelmed. A combat correspondent capturing the action takes a knee to snap a photograph and he's hit twice in the chest and once in the head.
“Man down,” yelled a Marine who witnessed his comrade go down.
Fortunately for the Marines shot, they'd be able to fight another day because this battle was fought with paintball guns powered by compressed air.
Marines from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune gathered for a paintballing showdown coordinated by the Single Marine Program, hosted at the Sportsman's Lodge in Jacksonville July 27.
The Marines arrived at 10 a.m. and many of them had sweat dripping from their faces before they even kicked off the day. The heat and humidity is never pleasant but it didn't stop the devil dogs from having a good time. The occasion was far from a bad day for these Marines. They smiled, drenched in sweat, as the pegged each other and exchanged pain.
“It feels like you're in a real firefight,” said Lance Cpl. Juanenrique Owings, a combat camera production specialist with Company H, Headquarter Battalion, 2nd Marine Division. “You get an adrenaline rush every time you go out there, especially with speedball. Its aggressive high-intensity fun, but I don't have to worry about getting killed.”
The SMP hosts many trips to offer single Marines an alternative means of entertainment. They get to get out to do something that doesn't involve drinking and that's great, said Cpl. Matthew Combs, a motor vehicle operator with Truck Company, Headquarter Battalion, 2nd Marine Division.
“It's awesome to have the SMP, because single Marines don't really have wives and kids to come home to,” said Owings. “It builds a lot of unit cohesion when the Marines get together and it lets us know we're not alone. This was my first SMP trip and I'm definitely going to take advantage of this opportunity again.”
They bring anywhere between 30 and 60 players every time they come here, said Erik Kalnicki, the store manager with the Sportsman's Lodge.
The Marines battled each other on a playing field approximately 26 acres large, offering a variety of environments such as an urban combat town, speedball and wooded course. They were able to utilize fox holes, trenches, bunkers, buildings and vehicles for defensive cover.
“I was a former Marine myself, so to be able to offer them a recreational outlet and a touch of training as well is great,” said Kalnicki. “The Marines are using some of the tactics they're learning and keeping up on their skills. Anytime we can help the Marine Corps or military, we're all about it.”
The Marines left the field with bruised bodies and paint splotched clothes, but from the looks on their faces, the occasion was enjoyable to all of them.
For more information on SMP visit http://www.mccslejeune.com/smp/index.html or call 452-4642.