CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Marines and sailors of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit completed their first unit hike behind a new commanding officer here, July 19.
Col. Matthew Trollinger, commanding officer of the 11th MEU, re-instituted unit hikes this month with the intent of continuing the physical and mental development of the Marines and sailors under his charge.
Dusting off packs for the first hike in nine months was a welcome change of pace for some members of the unit.
“Hikes are a great opportunity to see everyone’s mental toughness,” said Capt. Patrick Mahoney, the 11th MEU’s communications officer. “Physically, anyone can complete a hike. It’s the mental toughness that really pushes people and leads to better unit cohesion.”
Following completion of the hike, the Marines and sailors conducted weapons maintenance and returned to the command post for a talk from the commanding officer and sergeant major.
“This was a good first step toward getting us ready as a command element,” said Trollinger.
Sgt. Maj. Troy Black, the sergeant major of the 11th MEU, echoed the CO’s comments and spoke about the importance of being a basic Marine.
“A basic Marine strives to be the best in everything we do,” said Black. “It’s not because you’re in the Marine Corps, it’s because you are a Marine.”
Members of the 11th MEU will continue monthly hikes as they prepare mentally and physically for the challenges of an upcoming deployment.