News: MRF-D Marines beat the heat at KFTA
Story by Sgt. Sarah Fiocco
KANGAROO FLATS TRAINING AREA, Northern Territory, Australia – The intense Northern Territory heat and an arduous 4.5-mile run in full combat gear were only some of the obstacles Marines with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, faced as they completed a squad competition, wrapping up their four days in the field, here, May 23.
Throughout their run, Marines also stopped at four different locations in which they had to complete a call for fire on a radio, complete a maximum set of burpees in six minutes, conduct a casualty evacuation and fire their rifles at multicolored targets.
“This last day is a gut-check physical challenge for all the Marines to do before we get out of here,” said Capt. Raymond L’Heureux, commanding officer, Lima Co., 3rd Bn., 3rd Marine Regiment, MRF-D. “We like to push Marines to their physical limits to make sure they’re still able to operate in very adverse conditions.”
Having the job as an infantryman can weigh heavily on the body, so it becomes extremely important to stay physically fit, explained L’Heureux.
“You never know where you’re going to be. As the Marine Corps says, we fight in any clime and place,” said L’Heureux. “So many of the Marines here have been deployed to the deserts of Afghanistan where it’s dry and hot. We’re from Hawaii where it’s humid and hot, and now we’re in Darwin where it’s more humid and hot.“
The event allowed the Marines to put many of their practiced combat skills to the test, which is important during a time of war.
“Afghanistan takes everything that you learn as an infantryman and puts it together,” said L’Heureux.
Which is why it’s so crucial for the Marines to stay familiar with these skills, he added.
The event also gave the Marines the opportunity to build their camaraderie on a small-unit level.
“[They completed the exercise] in squad-sized elements, so they were able to operate as a team, push each other, motivate each other and lean on each other,” said L’Heureux.
According to Sgt. Ian Polhamus, squad leader, 3rd Platoon, Lima Co., 3rd Bn., 3rd Marine Regiment, MRF-D, teamwork was needed to complete this challenge, especially during the run.
“The hardest part was the run,” said Polhamus. “The marines know their stuff. They know how to call in their landing zones, and they know how to shoot their weapons. Running for [four and half miles] in this humidity is something we’re not used to.”
Even with no sign of the Northern Territory heat letting up, MRF-D Marines are still ready to train at any of the Australian Defence Force training facilities “out bush.”