MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The blood coursed through his veins as the extra weight he bore attempted to slow his pace. Blinking through the beads of sweat in his eyes and fighting to keep a steady breathing pattern, he pushed onwards, aware that the men to his left and right were still by his side. The goal that was now in view only quickened his run, motivating him to accomplish the mission with no signs of weakness.
A frenzied lust for competition could be seen in the eyes of all combat instructors of Marine Combat Training Battalion, School of Infantry – East as they pushed through two days of company-against-company contention during the second annual MCT Combat Instructor Competition aboard Camp Geiger, April 14 – 15.
“This is a physically and mentally challenging competition that tests our combat instructors in events based off what they teach new Marines going through MCT,” said Gunnery Sgt. Chris Singley, tactics chief for Instructor Group, MCT, SOI-E. “They do what the privates do, made more advanced and compressed into two days.”
From each of the five MCT companies, Fox, Golf, Hotel, India and Kilo, five combat instructors are chosen to compete against each other in more than 10 individual events.
The first day of competition included dummy hand grenade employment, a 1.5 mile run with ammo cans and water jugs, a team relay run through the obstacle course, a six mile force march, land navigation and a 100 question test, quizzing the instructors on all the knowledge they are expected to pass to their students.
“This is a great way to not only test you physically, but also let you know where you are as a CI,” said Sgt. Kenneth Sandefur, combat instructor with Company K. “As instructors, we have to be a level above in proficiency to teach in turn. Also, if we’re not physically fit, what does that say about us?”
The first day’s events were split between Camp Geiger and Camp Devildog while the second day was spent mostly on the SR-8 range. The day’s competition started with M-249 and M-240 live firing, then moved onto unknown distance shooting and weapons disassembly, re-assembly and functions check. After the scores were tallied up, a formation was held where Company G was announced the winner.
“This competition and these close results speak volumes of our combat instructors,” said Lt. Col. William Speigle, commanding officer of MCT, SOI-E. “You came together to face adversity, and that’s how we as a Marine Corps function. At the end of the day, you are all better Marines, and it re-enforces the face that we have a damn good group of instructors!”
With promises of a tougher competition next year, the second annual MCT Combat Instructor Competition draws to a close. Bragging rights have been issued, but the by-product of the two days of events run deeper than that. It is not only about building camaraderie, but also training the trainers to better teach the students.