News: Heavy Haulers take a hike
Story by Lance Cpl. Michelle Piehl
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. - Marines with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462, “Heavy Haulers,” participated in a motivational unit hike aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., May 9.
The motivational hike was arranged as a way for the Marines to condition their bodies for future hikes, as well as to foster a sense of camaraderie within the unit.
“Our squadron has been all over the place, on [Marine Expeditionary Units] and in Afghanistan,” Capt. Ryan W. Pallas, the airframes officer in charge of HMH-462 and Florence, N.J., native. “We’ve been separated for a long time, and now we are coming back together as a full squadron. It is a culmination event to recognize that we got through all of this.”
Each member of the squadron was required to carry an assault pack, filled with a pair of camouflaged utilities, a pair of Small Arms Protective Inserts, a change of socks, a full CamelBak, two full canteens and an Individual First Aid Kit. The full gear weighed approximately 35 pounds.
Bearing the weight of the loaded assault pack, the Heavy Haulers proceeded to hike 5.6 miles around the trails surrounding the fish pond and flight line area.
“The commandant has been preaching a ‘back to basics’ approach with good leadership standards,” said Pallas. “It all starts with simple Marine Corps evolutions. Everyone has done them, whether you started at boot camp or at the Officer Candidate School. It centralizes the focus on why we do what we do and why we are Marines.”
This type of motivational physical training occurs once a month, varying in format, explained Pallas.
Non-commissioned officers designed the hike to build confidence in the abilities of their Marines, according to Master Sgt. Adrian A. Fonseca, the maintenance chief with HMH-462 and a San Diego native.
“The Marines really motivate one another,” said Fonseca. “It builds confidence in the team. Our Marines are motivationally unequaled. They live and breathe [HMH-462]. It’s an awesome squadron.”
The high level of motivation within the unit was proudly displayed in a brief ceremony at the halfway point on top of a hill, overlooking the pond. Lance Cpl. Teela Muthersbaugh, an intelligence analyst with HMH-462, and a Chicago native, was recognized as the Marine of the Quarter. She was presented with a plaque and a certificate for her supreme work ethic and enthusiasm.
Following the return from the rugged terrain, Marines attended a brief from their commanding officer and were treated to a barbecue. At the conclusion of the workday, the squadron was awarded a 96-hour weekend in recognition of 90 consecutive days free of alcohol-related incidents.
“You won’t find a better group of individuals,” said Pallas. “No matter what demands are placed on them, they will always do it. It makes you awestruck to sit back and watch the [Marines] who actually work for you, inspire you.”
The raw pride of the Heavy Haulers displays the infectious quality of unit cohesion. HMH-462 continues a tradition of high levels of motivation and enthusiasm in the workplace.
More hikes, each becoming progressively more challenging, are in the works for future motivational events for HMH-462.