MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- This summer Marines across the globe competed in the preliminary High
Intensity Tactical Training competition looking to be the best HITT
Tactical Athlete at their installation. The top female and male athlete
from each base earned the chance to move on the HITT Tactical Athlete
The competition was held on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California recently.
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s top male athlete, Staff Sgt. Dennis
Merritt, competed and won amongst Lejeune’s other top athletes on June
10 and travelled to Miramar for the championships.
"I’m excited to have the opportunity to compete," said Merritt, Marine
Raider Regiment armory chief. "Athletically challenging myself has
bettered all aspects of my life – mental outlook, physical capabilities
and overall performance."
Merritt learned about the competition while attending a professional
military education career course and was interested in participating.
"I’ve done other fitness competitions in the past and always have
enjoyed myself," said Merritt. "As soon as I heard there was a HITT
competition, I shifted my schedule to prioritize the preliminaries."
During preliminaries, Marines were tested on speed, endurance, agility
and strength through various events such as a kettlebell burpee pyramid
and the tactical shuttle, similar to a combat fitness test.
"A large majority of our careers focus on athletic ability," said
Merritt. "We are athletes but we are not training for a big game; we are
preparing for the physical and mental demands of war. We always need to
be physically equipped to better accomplish the mission at a moment’s
HITT keeps Marines mission ready but also helps bring out the
competitive nature of Marines which ultimately drives them to better
"I’ve always been competitive and I enjoy the act of competing," said
Merritt. "It’s rewarding to go out there, workout, test how far I can
push my body and appreciate how my training has prepared me for the
HITT provides Marines physical training that directly correlates with
their warfighting capabilities in addition to keeping them physically
"(Merritt) was one of our top athletes," John Heger, Lejeune-New River
HITT program coordinator. "He had the best cardio and muscular
endurance; he was the best athlete we could send out there."
Marines who compete in the championship showcase their strength and endurance running.
"Marines are competitive and most are in remarkable shape," said
Merritt. "The events in the competition add in the element of surprise
to take one outside their comfort zone in the best way. Win or lose, it
was still a fun, challenging workout and experience."