IWAKUNI, YAMAGUCHI, JAPAN
IWAKUNI, Japan - Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron plans to celebrate the 238th Marine Corps Birthday in a unique way, they’re going to hike 17.75 kilometers.
Marines with H&HS checked out their rifles, strapped on their packs and lined up in squadron formation, all before the sun rose, in preparation for their nine-mile conditioning hike Oct. 7, 2013.
“There are two reasons we are doing this,” said Lt. Col. F. Lance Lewis, commanding officer of H&HS. “Number one is to train and prepare for combat. Are we ever going to hike 15 miles with all of our stuff and weapons? I don’t know, probably not, but it prepares us physically for going on patrols. Going on foot patrols is longer than just an hour. You may be getting in and out of vehicles, but you’re going to be doing it all day, or for a couple of days. I want to be able to give people that experience to be able to do it. The second reason is to celebrate the Marine Corps Birthday Ball.”
The squadron completed two workup hikes in preparation for the 17.75 kilometer (12 miles) hike.
“If we did the 12 miles right out of the gate, we would lose a lot of people,” said Lewis. “I wanted to give people the opportunity to work their way up to it. You can’t just wake up, roll out of bed and go. People learn that they need to sit down during the breaks and get off their feet. They learn that they need to bring food and water.”
Lewis added that the idea came last year after the squadron hiked three miles.
“It was the first time, so there were a lot of unknowns,” said Lewis. “Immediately after that hike, I wanted to go do it again and go father. That’s where I got the 17.75 kilometer idea.”
Lewis said that he got the feeling the unit is enjoying the hikes and it gives them a sense of pride, as well as some bragging rights.
“I was tired,” said Cpl. Douglas Do, administrative specialist for H&HS, after completing the nine-mile conditioning hike. “I woke up at 2 a.m. I was encouraged by my peers to carry the guidon. It was pretty motivating, hiking with the CO. Sometimes, I felt really tired, but the CO, as well as my peers behind me, motivated me. I learned that I need to bring more socks for the next hike.”
Lewis added that he plans to continue to go back to the basics with squadron physical training after the hike is over.
“I want to do something in the water,” said Lewis. “I also want to break out our first aid kits.”
With Lewis hinting at his future plans, Marines in H&HS can expect to have the saying every Marine is a rifleman, reiterated to them in coming months.
||IWAKUNI, YAMAGUCHI, JP
This work, H&HS goes back to grassroots ways for Marine Corps Birthday, by Cpl Brian Stevens, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.