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Members of the Carolina Panthers pose with Marines stationed aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and a Semper Fit team after a combat conditioning course demonstration May 15.

Photo by Cpl. Damany S. Coleman

Carolina Panthers show appreciation, watch Marines train during recent visit

15 May 2012 | Cpl. Damany S. Coleman

As the nation’s emergency force, Marines are indoctrinated into a continuum of training to keep within the highest standards of physical fitness, mental clarity and overall expeditionary readiness. They are warrior athletes, but their game days aren’t under Friday night lights.

To get a glimpse of what it’s like training for military operations and to show appreciation for those serving in the armed forces, members of the Carolina Panthers visited Marines for a demonstration of a Semper Fit training session on W.P.T. Hill Field aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune May 15.

The Semper Fit team put Marines from 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment through a short but effective course to demonstrate methods of combat conditioning.

The Marines took part in a rope exercise, ammo can lifts, low crawling with rifles and a few other motivating fitness staples and enjoyed some one-on-one time with members from the team.

“We heard the Semper Fit team was going to be here and thought it was going to be just another break off, which it was,” said Pfc. Chris Swatzell, with the 2nd Marine Regiment. “It was actually pretty motivating. We got a chance to show the Carolina Panthers, mascot and cheerleader what we do and how we train. It was a lot of fun, good fun, and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer day.”

Jon Beason, linebacker with the Carolina Panthers said as far as training goes, there are a lot of similarities in preparation and attention to detail for both professional athletes and service members.

“Everyone has their own job to do to make sure we’re all successful,” said Beason. “Obviously, for them it’s life or death. You hear the stories and watch things on T.V. about what Marines do but getting a taste of it is definitely impressive. All of my grandfather’s brothers were in the Army, and I’ve seen pictures of them, but this is a new found appreciation for service members.”

While their schedule wouldn’t allow it, Beason added, he wished more of his team was able to share his experience during his visit with the Marines.

“We really appreciate these guys,” said Beason. “The military isn’t for everyone, but it’s definitely something that has to be done.”

Ron Rivera, the team’s head coach, said he thought the visit was a great way to show their appreciation for what service members do.

“(This is) one heck of an opportunity to give back to these guys who have given so much for our country,” said Rivera. “I grew up an Army brat, and of course being on a Marine installation is a little different, but it’s my pleasure to be here on Camp Lejeune and watch you guys show us how you train.”