FSSG sailors take top honors

26 Sep 2002 | Pfc. Sharon E. Fox

Six 2nd Force Service Support Group sailors received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal in a recent ceremony after winning the Marine Forces Atlantic Battle Skills Competition.

This makes the third year in a row a non-infantry unit has won the event.

Honored were Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan King, Petty Officer 2nd Class Demeak Williams, Petty Officers 3rd Class Jamaal Lofton, John Stickney and Neath Williams, and Seaman Alberto Mederos. The sailors made up 2nd FSSG's "Team A."

The competition, held at the Special Operation Training Group site here at Stone Bay, tested the sailors' teamwork and battle skills over a four-day period.

Events ranged from endurance courses to land navigation, a physical fitness test and a 12.3-mile hump. The sailors also took written exams to test their Corps knowledge.

"One of the reasons for this competition is to show that the corpsmen are up to standards and can hang with the most physically fit. This is critical in their job field," said Chief Petty Officer Aristides Ortiz, leading petty officer for the Naval hospital here.

Six teams from throughout the II Marine Expeditionary Force competed in the event, which was open to sailors of Marines Forces Atlantic, and included teams from Marine Corps Air Stations Beaufort and Cherry Point.

"This is a time for the sailors to show they can take care of our Marines in a combat environment and conduct the same field skills they do," said Master Chief Joseph M. Manifold, II MEF command master chief.

Manifold said he was there to support his fellow sailors in proving they can hack it with the Marines.

Brigadier Gen. Richard Natonski, II MEF deputy commander, congratulated the winners. He saluted the sailors for a job "well done" and gave awards to the top three teams.

"Team B" from 2nd FSSG finished second and received certificates of commendation and a team trophy. The "docs" of 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines took third place honors and a team trophy.

This is the sixth year of the competition. King, who led his sailors to victory and possession of the commander's cup, said he's looking forward to the seventh.

"We worked our butts off this week, and I'm just glad it's over," King said. "I can't wait to do it again next year."