MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
“Being an (noncommissioned officer) means supervising those troops under them. That is their duty as a Marine. Their accomplishments are reflected in their Marines’ accomplishments.”
Such were the words of Sgt. James Arvin, platoon sergeant with Brig Company, Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and acting squad leader during the HQSPT Bn. Corporals’ Stamina Course, Feb. 9.
Spanning a distance of nearly three miles with an averaged run time of two hours, the Weapons Training Battalion Stamina Course became the stomping and sweating ground for corporals from HQSPT Bn. The Marines broke up into four squads, using teamwork and persistence to negotiate obstacles and a multitude of exercise stations.
“The whole point of this course is to give Marines a sense of accomplishment while also having to work as a team,” said Master Sgt. Anthony T. Ball, corrections specialist with HQSPT Bn. and coordinator of the course. “This course will bring some things that lie dormant inside you out, testing both your physical and leadership skills.”
After the first squad started, each consecutive squad started five minutes after the previous, leaving ample time between squads to navigate past the various obstructions throughout the route. The course consists of 22 exercise stations and 12 obstacles ranging from low-crawling under barbed wire to moving over towers of tires.
One could see it in the eyes of the corporals as they progressed through every trench and over every log; their limits were being tested, yet none of them broke under the physical and mental strain. The beads of sweat that dripped off the mud-caked brows were testament to effort and teamwork put forth by every individual embracing the Marine Corps tradition of being brothers-in-arms.
“Broke my second wind? Man, I just broke my fourth,” wheezed a Marine as he ran uphill, a water jug in each hand. Anyone observing his labors could tell he was hurting; the weight on his arms, the burning in his legs, the dryness of his mouth. Yet the Marine inside the sandy, wet utilities did not dwell on these things. He only know that by motivating his fellow squad members they would in turn motivate him.
After a grueling two hours the worn yet motivated corporals maneuvered to the finish line, gear and all, leaving no Marine behind. The squads did not finish in the order they started in, but each squad completed the course together, helping each other keep a high level of motivation amidst the physically and mentally-worn bodies.
“This course is designed to push you past your normal limit and evaluate how you work as a team,” said Ball addressing the Marines. “I can say that you all acted as I had expected. I am impressed with your performance. Headquarters and Support Battalion does not accept second best.”
Although the Marines now had time to realize how soaked and sore they were at the end of the course, the purpose was not forgotten and shall not be forgotten. A Marine NCO leads by example, and their professional conduct is reflected on how their subordinates conduct themselves.
“Who cares if you can run a 300 (physical fitness test),” said Arvin. “The question is can your Marines do it?”