26th MEU Marines bring up their motivation, exercise esprit de corps

26th MEU Marines bring up their motivation, exercise esprit de corps

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt Leonardo Avilagonzalez, a field radio operator with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, commands a formation during a noncommissioned officer (NCO) led physical training session aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., June 3, 2014. The training was designed to build camaraderie, morale, and allow NCOs an opportunity to expand their authority within the unit. Photo by LCpl Andre Daiks.

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (June 6, 2014) – The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Marines and sailors conducted a noncommissioned officer led physical training session Tuesday.

Physical fitness is a part of every Marine's life. Fitness is gauged during the physical fitness test, annually required and converted into a score used to determine a Marine's potential for promotion.

Cpl Brian P. Seate, a landing support specialist assigned to the 26th MEU and one of the PT planners, said, "It gave us [NCOs] an opportunity to exercise directive skills, train, motivate and set the example." 

The physical training session involved a series of stations indicated by safety cones. Participants performed an exercise at each cone denoted by labels with the exercise name displayed on the cones.

"We designed it to cater to the number of participants present," said Seate. "There were around 110 Marines present." Marines and sailors were divided into six groups and paired with another in their group for exercises where assistance was necessary.

"The commanding officer and sergeant major were participants," said Seate. "They were able to determine how strong the leadership is in the MEU."

NCOs provide leadership at the lowest level. They interact directly with junior enlisted and take accountability and responsibility for the performance and wellness of the Marines under their charge. Events like the NCO led PT session can help higher leadership gauge the effectiveness of a command's small unit leaders.

"It improves camaraderie, teamwork, unit cohesion, esprit de corps, and reinforces leadership" said Cpl Christian X.

Lawrence, an embark specialist assigned to the 26th MEU. Marines in the groups encouraged one another via verbal encouragement and exercise refinement throughout the duration of the session.

"They pulled each other through each event and stayed motivated," said Seate. "Those are basic traits every Marine learns and should put into practice."

An NCO in each group was assigned as the squad advisor. Their responsibilities were ensuring the entire group completed the exercise, the group stayed together, and ensuring the exercises were performed correctly.

"We want to inspire the junior Marines to have faith in our abilities, and harbor a mutual respect that makes them want to improve themselves and try to become NCOs," said Lawrence.

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