10 Feb, 2014 -- CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa - Esprit de corps, or group spirit, is a common motivational phrase within the Marine Corps. It is often stressed in the workplace by Marines to emphasize the value of unit cohesion and combat readiness.
In an effort to feed that motivational flame, Marines and sailors of Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, Marine Corps Installation Pacific, came together for a battalion super-squad competition Jan. 23 starting on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and ending at Camp Hansen.
The super-squad competition was fashioned to physically challenge the Marines and sailors and bring them together as a unit.
“The goal is to build camaraderie,” said Capt. Elice Parker Jr., operations officer, S-3, operations and training, H&S Bn. “The Marines get a fun day off from their everyday duties to get out here and get some. I think it accomplished all of those things. I had a lot of fun and from the looks on all of the Marines and sailors faces, I think they had fun too.”
The events of the day consisted of two portions. At MCAS Futenma, the morning consisted of a 2.5-mile hike to the obstacle course, completion of the obstacle course, a squad exercise, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program exercise and a memory exercise event.
In the afternoon, the groups went to Camp Hansen where they completed another two-mile hike, an Intermediate Combat Rifle Marksmanship live-fire, a memory exercise and assembled a radio to transmit a medical evacuation request.
“Through all the hardship, they seem to have come together,” said Gunnery Sgt. Larry J. Arnold II, operations chief, S-3, operations and training, H&S Bn. “If one Marine fell behind, another Marine would take his rifle or his pack, so that they could help that Marine out and work together as a team. The whole team would rally behind him and try to motivate him to get him up back with the squad again. They just never quit.”
At day’s end, after all the struggling, the Marines and sailors reminisced over the challenges they had to overcome together.
“During the obstacle course, we all had to help each other get over the bars,” said Lance Cpl. Andrew J. Harp, a supply administration and operations specialist with the battalion. “We couldn’t do something until we all got through it. The first time, (we) were individuals just trying to (motivate) each other, saying, ‘Hey, you got this!’"
“The second time, after doing the MCMAP moves in between the two obstacle courses, there was a lot more teamwork because there were people (physically helping) each other over the bar.”
Third squad, comprised of legal service specialists, won the Super-Squad of the Year award for H&S Bn. and set the bar high for the next competition.
“I think we met the commander’s intent to the utmost of our ability, with very positive results, and very positive feedback from Marines and the Seabees,” said Arnold. “They’re already talking about the next super-squad competition, so it was definitely a success. There are definitely some things that we could work on to make the next event better. That’s (in) everything we do. You live and learn from your mistakes and make it better the next time.”