News: Company G seizes victory MCT Bn - East Combat Instructors Competition
Story by Pfc. Nikki Phongsisattanak
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Combat instructors with Companies F, G, H, I and K, Marine Combat Training Battalion, School of Infantry – East held their third annual Combat Instructors’ Competition aboard Camp Geiger and Devil Dog, recently.
Last year’s reigning champions, Company G, were victorious yet again.
Five instructors representing each company participated in the two-day competition, which featured scored events such as hand grenade employment, conditioning movement, land navigation, intermediate combat marksmanship night and day fire, weapons disassembly and assembly, ICM unknown distance fire, ICM unknown distance stress shoot and a logistics carry and movement exercise.
“It was honestly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” said Sgt. Tyler D. Swanson, a combat instructor with MCT Battalion. “The hike was my biggest challenge because of the weight of the packs and distance of the movements. It was tough, but it was good.”
Many of the event were physically demanding but the competition also included a written test derived from the knowledge that MCT students are taught. The competition is tweaked each year, but the events and exercises met the same physically and mentally challenging standards as the previous competitions.
“Every year is different,” said Master Sgt. Josue S. Santoyo, the chief instructor for MCT Battalion. “It all depends on who is organizing it. One day we may use the obstacle or endurance course. The instructors were pretty worn out. It was challenging and most of them underestimated the weather, but the competition went well. It gives them the bragging rights. A lot of the companies say they’re better than the other, but this competition is a way for them to prove themselves and have fun.”
The instructors joked, laughed, and made fun of each other during the event, but they were always there to provide motivation when one of their team members struggled.
“A lot of us were hurting here and there, but none of us quit,” said Swanson. “That mental toughness is what I got from this. I saw the things I lacked in, so I’ll put my mindset on that to better myself.”
The competition tested the fortitude and hardiness of the instructors, who originate from different military occupational specialties, but all of them completed the course. Many of them gained an experience to take note of and learn from.
“Sometimes the instructors might forget what their students are going through because they’re always in the leadership position,” said Santoyo. “But by doing this competition, it puts them in the receiving end. They were like students again.
“This helped them become better leaders, and teaches them to appreciate their positions as combat instructors, so they can be teachers and mentors, not just troop handlers,” concluded Santoyo.