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A Marine noncommissioned officer with Headquarters Battalion sights in on a target at Range 100, Sep. 9, 2011, during the battalion's monthly NCO challenge.

Photo by Cpl. Andrew D. Thorburn

NCOs go back to the basics, land navigation competition

16 Sep 2011 | Cpl. Andrew D. Thorburn

Marine noncommissioned officers returned to the basics in land navigation when they competed against each other for the NCO trophy and the bragging rights as the best land nav. NCO throughout the battalion.

The challenge was simple, after receiving their coordinates, Marines plot them on a small map, then travel to the locations, find the ammunition can marker, and mark down what was on the can. This proved harder than the participants thought, due to the Marines time away from land navigation because of primary responsibilities.

“Every month we try to do something to get them back into their Marine Corps roots,” said 1st Sgt. Nelson Hidalgo, the first sergeant for Company B, Headquarters Battalion. “For most of our Marines [it] will be a big challenge because they never do land nav. Most of our Marines we send to corporal’s course mention land nav. kicks their butt, so little things like this, when we can plug it in, is great.”

A few of the Marines went the extra mile and refreshed their skills and knowledge to help ensure their sections’ victory. “We studied for about an hour and a half last night so I thought we were going to take one of the top three spots,” said Sgt. Ashley Bently, the legal and promotion noncommissioned officer in charge with Installation Personnel Administration Center.

“Then we got started and quickly got lost. We wish that we could have gotten a few more of the [ammo cans] right.”

The challenge not only sharpened land nav. skills, but also caused the Marines to ‘network,’ or learn more about the other shops in the battalion and what they do.

“It’s good to work together with some of the NCOs within the battalion because we get to see each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” said Cpl. Joseph Burden, a distribution management office freight clerk.

After the Marines trekked through the hillside of Range 100, climbing hills, rocks, and avoiding the local wildlife, the times and scores were calculated.

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