Tactical Athlete Competition pushes Marines to their limits

16 Jun 2016 | Lance Cpl. Sean J. Berry Berry Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

The focus of the High Intensity Tactical Training Center is to help Marines become athletes capable of completing any mission.

Eight Marines accepted the challenge of the 2016 Tactical Athlete Competition at the HITT Center on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Friday, for the opportunity compete at various Marine Corps installations to earn the title of Tactical Athlete of the Year.

"The Tactical Athlete Competition is being done by HITT to find the fittest tactical athletes in the Marine Corps," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Enrique Laguna, a telecommunications officer with 8th Communication Battalion and Level One HITT instructor. "The competitions are being held at every installation across the Marine Corps to put Marines to the test."

Marines competed in timed events including ammo can and sandbag sprints to test endurance as well as strength. Mere split seconds separated their scores as each competitor pushed themselves to their physical limits to win.

"It was awesome watching these Marines go out and give everything they had," said John Heger, the HITT center manager for Camp Lejeune. "This is the preliminary event to choose a winner; one male and female Marine will go on to compete in San Diego against other Marines to be named Tactical Athlete of the Year."

Exercises in the competition are combat fitness oriented, similar to the usual classes that the HITT gym organizes for Marines.

"It was tough to compete with these Marines," said Laguna. "They’re really fit and definitely the epitome of what a fit Marine should be."

This was the first of four competitions held between Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River. The Tactical Athlete Competition is held yearly at HITT centers across the Marine Corps.

"I think this is a great competition and I hope it grows more," said Laguna. "I hope there’s more participation from Marines next year to do this rather than the usual physical training that they’re used to."