Photo Information

A Marine with the Marine Corps Engineer School, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, sprints while carrying two 40mm grenade ammunition cans during the St. Patrick’s Day celebration on Ellis Field at Courthouse Bay aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, March 18. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by engineers because he is the patron saint of engineers.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Victor Barrera

Marine Corps Engineer School honors patron saint

18 Mar 2011 | Lance Cpl. Victor Barrera

St. Patrick is credited for several things, including the use of lime as mortar in Ireland, as well as the initial construction of clay churches in Ireland in the 5th century A.D. Now, 15 centuries later, he is celebrated throughout the Marine Corps as the patron saint of engineers.

Though not celebrated liturgically, Marines with the Marine Corps Engineer School aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune observed St. Patrick’s Day through fun day filled with laughter, competition and camaraderie to celebrate their patron saint, March 18.

“This is our day,” said Staff Sgt. Ernest Bethea III, a demolition range instructor with Combat Engineer Instruction Company, Engineer Training Battalion, Marine Corps Engineer School, Training and Education Command. “It’s the one day where we all have the luck of the Irish, I think it’s one of the greatest traditions we have, its equal to the Marine Corps Birthday for us.”

The celebrations started at 8 a.m. where the students from the Combat Engineer Instruction Company and the Utility Instruction Company were split into small groups for a couple of competition games. At different events only some Marines were chosen and the remaining teammates cheered for their own team.

The competition that kicked off the day required teams to spin around a sledgehammer, also known as the Dizzy Izzy, then have them run to a set goal and back. The teams were given points based on how fast they finished and at the end of the day the teams with the most points would be awarded with trophies.

After the Dizzy Izzy relay, the Marines competed in an Ironman contest. The relay required the participating Marines to run to a set marker, do push-ups, then run to another marker and perform burpees. Burpees are an exercise that has a Marine get into a squat position with their hands on the floor in front of them, kick their feet back and go into a pushup position, immediately returning to the squat position and finally leaping up as high as possible from the squat position.

Other relays included a stretcher relay with four Marines carrying a fifth Marine on a stretcher; the caber toss, a wooden log being tossed as far as possible and an ammo sprint, requiring Marines to carry two 40 millimeter grenade boxes.

Throughout the competition Marines encouraged their teammates, chatted amongst each other and filled the air with laughter and friendly rivalry.

After a quick lunch break, the Marines were back to the competition, this time, with a Blarney stone toss, which for this event was a rock painted green. Afterward, a pull-up competition tested their mettle as each team volunteered five Marines who had to complete as many pull-ups as possible.

A seven-ton pulling contest and a tug-of-war, were also included. The day’s festivities ended with a run through the ever-challenging Obstacle Course.

“The event went well,” said Bethea. “The Marines were all charged up and the motivation was high. It’s been a great day overall, and they’ve given it their all.”