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Lance Cpl. Jalille Ryan Cristobal, tank mechanic, and Lance Cpl. Alan Kuang, driver, 1st Tank Battalion, grapple during a physical training competition as part of the battalion’s operational pause at Del Valle Field aboard the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., Nov. 29, 2016. (Official Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Thomas Mudd/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Thomas Mudd

1st Tanks builds unit camaraderie during operational pause

1 Dec 2016 | Cpl. Thomas Mudd Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

First Tank Battalion conducted an operational pause at Del Valle Field, Nov. 29, 2016, in accordance with the All Marine Corps Activities 037/16 from Gen. Robert B. Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps. Neller has asked all Marines to participate in a corps-wide professional development operational pause for units to guard against complacency and a lack of focus at home station.

“When I became Commandant, I promised we would have candid discussions,” Neller said in ALMAR 037/16. “I have listened to your input on how to make our Corps better, and I owe it to you to give you my honest opinions, both when we succeed, and when we need to improve.”

According to Neller, the Marine Corps is performing well with operational tasks. However, losing even one Marine to suicide, accidents or poor decision-making is one too many.

“This pause was put in place so units can talk about things that are affecting their Marines,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Meyers, commander officer, 1st Tanks. “The Marine Corps loses far too many people to things like suicide and drunk driving. We are further discussing issues like these ones to try to put a stop to them.”

Throughout the day, Marines of 1st Tanks held guided discussions about how to improve their daily lives and help their Marines. The Marines also participated in physical competitions at scheduled times.

“Being split up into smaller groups keeps us engaged with the discussions and listening,” said Lance Cpl. Minhyung Lee, crewman, 1st Tanks. “Having PT thrown into the mix gets our blood pumping again and keeps us engaged.”

Through guided discussions and competitions, 1st Tanks leadership hoped to build camaraderie amongst their Marines, which can lower potential losses.

“I want to be clear that the great majority of our Marines and units are doing an outstanding job,” Neller said. “This message is meant to reinforce all the great things you are doing. But, as I have said to you when I visited you at bases and stations around our Corps, the best professional teams are proactive in ensuring they get better. They pause, reflect, discuss, learn and get better before they have problems that are beyond their control.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms