Marines traverse jungle endurance course
For the past decade, Marines have trained to fight in the desert terrain of the Middle East. However, with the new national defense strategy focusing on the Asia-Pacific region,
Marines are renewing their jungle warfare skills, upholding the Marine Corps tradition of training to fight in every clime and place.
Marines with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, which is currently assigned to 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, conducted the endurance course at the Jungle Warfare Training Center at Camp Gonsalves Oct. 30 to develop their ability to maneuver and fight through the jungle.
The Marines, who are stationed on Okinawa as part of the unit deployment program, relish the opportunity to use the Corps’ only jungle warfare training center.
“We don’t have the opportunity to conduct jungle warfare training anywhere else,” said Sgt. Benjamin E. Johns, an infantryman and acting platoon commander with Company G,
2nd Bn., 3rd Marines. “I enjoyed the endurance course and it allowed us to use a lot of the skills we learned from the instructors.”
The transition from desert warfare to jungle warfare is important because Marines must be able to fight in any terrain around the world, according to Johns.
“We have been focused on fighting in desert terrain for the past decade,” said Johns. “Now, with the shift of focus to this region, we need to train more in this type of terrain.”
During the course, Marines received classes on fast roping, hasty rappelling, crossing valleys using rope bridges, and stretcher carries.
“We took the training we learned, put it all together, and worked hard to complete the grueling course,” said Cpl. Patrick P. Webber, an infantryman and squad leader with the company.
The course not only teaches Marines different skills they can use in the jungle, but also strengthens bonds within the unit, according to Cpl. Abdiel Balderas, an anti-tank missileman and instructor at JWTC.
“The endurance course is the culminating event for the jungle warfare training,” said Balderas. “It makes the Marines work together to accomplish the course and, in the end, helps build camaraderie within the unit.”
The Marines did well on the course, maintaining good communication and not getting frustrated while navigating the obstacles, according to Johns.
“We worked together really well,” said Johns. “We came together, pushed through, and didn’t let anything slow us down.”