Marines endure trial by water during jungle training

Marines endure trial by water during jungle training

by Lance Cpl. David N. Hersey
Okinawa Marine Staff

CAMP GONSALVES, Japan - Boots pack the soft jungle mud as the battalion moves through the trees. Eyes scan the area in search of the next obstacle that stands in the way.

Marines with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, completed endurance training Feb. 12 at the Jungle Warfare Training Center, Camp Gonsalves.

The Jungle Warfare Training Center was established in order to train military personnel how to maneuver and engage in combat while in a jungle environment, according to Staff Sgt. David L. Cole, chief instructor with JWTC, Camp Gonsalves, Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, Marine Corps Installations Pacific.

“We have approximately 17,500 acres separated between four training areas,” said Cole. “We use these areas to train personnel how to make use of skills such as engaging an enemy in combat, conducting reconnaissance, sharpening survival skills, communication, casualty care, patrol and various other skills in a jungle environment.”

During the endurance test, the Marines maneuvered through a four-mile trail. During their movement, the Marines encountered obstacles such as waist-deep water and mud, rope bridges, trenches, simulated enemy encounters, and a simulated casualty event, in which they were required to move a simulated victim with the help of a stretcher.

Through the hardships, the Marines built on their teamwork and camaraderie, according to Sgt. Shawn M. Gleason, a rifleman with Company I, 3rd Bn., 1st Marines, currently assigned to 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III MEF, under the unit deployment program.

“This training made the Marines test their limits and help each other to achieve their goal,” said Gleason. “When you begin to think you can’t do something, you begin to be able to rely on the Marines to your left and right help you push through your limits and beyond.”

The training ensures that the unit will improve unit cohesion, as well as efficiency by requiring the Marines to work together, according to 1st Lt. Scott D. Suess, a platoon commander with the unit.

“Everyone needs to (work) in order to reach the goal in this kind of training,” said Suess. “The leaders are right there with their Marines, enduring the same obstacles with them and helping them to solve the problems and achieve the mission.”

At the end of the training, the Marines cleaned themselves and their equipment and returned to their barracks, eagerly anticipating the next time they could participate in the training.

“I’d love to do this test again if we have the opportunity,” said Suess. “If we do, we’ll be trying to beat our time for getting it done from today.”

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