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Marines sing cadence during a battalion three-mile motivation run along the Physical Fitness Test Track, April 4, 2014. “When you see the companies get together like this, it builds morale and brings the Marines together,” said Cpl. Paul Kelley, military working dog handler, Provost Marshal’s Office, Headquarters Battalion.

Photo by Cpl. Ali Azimi

Battalion physical training builds unit cohesion

4 Apr 2014 | Lance Cpl. Paul S. Martinez

More than 400 enlisted Marines with Headquarters Battalion gathered April 3, 2014, for a battalion run along the Physical Fitness Test track at Del Valle Field.

Companies of Marines stood in their boots and utilities, ready for, as the Marine Corps would put it, good old-fashioned physical training. The run was the first battalion PT session held since Sgt. Maj. Abel Leal, battalion sergeant major, HQBN, assumed duties last year.

Staff non-commissioned officers led warm-up exercises, and soon all were ready to get moving. Marines stepped out to call cadence at the top of their lungs to motivate and unite the Marines, to the avail of thunderous shouting and boot-stomping all along the route.

Leal led the three-mile run to foster esprit de corps within the battalion, build unit cohesion and condition physical performance in preparation for the annual physical fitness test.

“This was motivating,” said Cpl. Paul Kelley, military working dog handler, Provost Marshal’s Office. “I came from a field unit and there was a lot of camaraderie. When you see the companies get together like this, it builds morale and brings the Marines together.”

For HQBN, this is only the start. Leal plans to make battalion physical training, and the advantages it provides his Marines, a routine.

Maybe we’ll start going around the base or into the mountains as we progress, Leal said. Cadence calling and large numbers of Marines is what I want to see.

Leal also encouraged the Marines to continue doing their part in keeping the battalion and the base effective, recognizing their long hours and dedication.

[This battalion] puts in a lot of work, Leal said. We do just as much work, if not more, than any other Marine Corps battalion.

Headquarters Battalion is slated to hit the ground running yet again next month, when a third battalion run is held for Lt. Col. Michael Bowers, commanding officer, HQBN, who is slated to leave the Combat Center this summer.

The volume and eagerness to exercise demonstrated by the Marines proved that motivation was high. Events like battalion PT are just one of many ways for Marines to unite and perform as a whole.


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