MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Esprit de corps is something the Marine Corps instills in every Marine from their earliest days at recruit training. Units all over the Corps conduct different activities to keep this belief alive in all of its Marines and sailors to include- Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s Headquarters and Support Battalion.
One of the largest and most extensive events the battalion produces in order for service members to have fun, and meet other Marines and sailors is the Commander’s Cup Challenge. It gives many work sections an opportunity to intermingle with other Marines they would otherwise never come into contact with.
“Headquarters and Support Battalions has (approximately 1600) Marines,” said Lt. Col. David G. Bardorf, the battalion’s commanding officer. “We’re spread out all over this base, and even have members as far as Fort Bragg. They’re jobs take them straight up within their profession, meaning they don’t interact with other military jobs very often. The intent of the Commander’s Cup is to bring all the different aspects of the battalion together in physically challenging events to build unit cohesion”
The Commander’s Cup Challenge is a 12-month competition between Companies A, B, I and Security. Each month, there is one event and whichever company wins the most events secures the Commander’s Cup as their own for a year.
“Nothing brings a unit closer together than a common bond,” Bardorf added. A common bond is generated through hard work and a struggle. Whether its work related or not, these things build bonds between people and units. The Commander’s Cup was implemented in order to bring Marines together.”
June is the last month for this Commander’s Cup Challenge with Security and Company B currently tied for first-place bragging right. In July, a new 12-month cycle will begin with some Marines looking to settle the score.
The Commander’s Cup Challenge is the largest event the battalion conducts to build unit cohesion, but there a plethora of other activities the companies participate in, such as battalion physical training on the first Friday of every month and different professional military education classes. Beach Day, which is scheduled for June 21, is another activity designed to bring the unit together. Marines and sailors will head out to Onslow Beach with their families and friends, and have a chance to talk to Marines from different companies in the battalion.
“The biggest thing is getting Marines out of their everyday work environments,” said Sgt. Maj. Michael J. Rowan, battalion sergeant major. “Because of how unique our battalion is, it’s good to get out and do these different events with each other and even invite the families out. It just brings everyone closer together as a family, which is what we are.”