CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Marines strive to be physically fit to remain combat ready at all times. For the Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Battalion 15, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group, it is one of their top priorities.
Gathering at the armory at 12:30 a.m., Marines with CLB-15 acquired their weapons and donned their packs for a three-hour combat conditioning exercise aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Oct. 31, 2013. Marines undergo conditioning exercises, such as hiking, to build physical endurance and camaraderie within the battalion and set Marines up for success if they are faced with situations requiring physical courage.
“With this being our first night operation, I felt it was extremely beneficial,” said 2nd Lt. Nickolas Gillespie, the engineering deck officer in charge with CLB-15. “It’s not something you can plan for until you really experience it.”
CLB-15 put out a battalionwide recall six hours before the training operation was slated to occur, giving unknowing Marines an element of surprise along with other challenges, such as performing the exercise with a lack of sleep and using only glow sticks and headlamps for guidance in the middle of the night.
“You never know what will change especially when you deploy,” said Sgt. Luis Gallegos, a data chief with CLB-15. “All you can do is be mentally prepared for it. At the end of the day, your body will do what your mind tells it to.”
Each Marine was required to wear a Kevlar helmet, flak jacket and a pack weighing approximately 60 lbs., a typical fighting load simulating gear a Marine would wear while deployed.
“You’re not always going to have a sure way of transportation,” said Lance Cpl. Stephen Smith, an electrician with CLB-15. “I believe hiking prepares us for any challenge that gets in our way.”
The evolution was divided into three exercises throughout the night. The first was a hike where Marines wore the M50 gas masks and carried a combat load. The second incorporated moving a log uphill. The third and final exercise consisted of a final climb to the summit of a steep hill to meet the sun rising in the east.
“Hiking is a great team-strengthening opportunity,” said Cpl. Gerardo Dehorta, a small arms repair technician with CLB-15. “It creates an environment that tests the physical and mental toughness of Marines working as a team towards a common goal.”
The conditioning exercise also gives senior Marines an opportunity to see how junior Marines are improving individually and as a team.
“The exercise was an overall success,” said 2nd Lt. Kyle Britt, a maintenance management officer with CLB-15. “The Marines had a tough test this morning, but they all came through.”
CLB-15 continues to conduct conditioning exercises each month in preparation for upcoming regimental hikes and operations.