MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - -- The first High Intensity Tactical Training Ultimate Tactical Athlete Championship was held aboard the Combat Center, Sept. 15 through Sept. 17, 2015.
The event brought Marines from installations around the Corps to compete in a series of exercises testing each on their tactical and physical proficiency.
“The Ultimate Athlete Championship is a culmination of 34 active duty Marines from around the Marine Corps,” said Ryan Massimo, combat fitness specialist, Semper Fit Branch, Marine and Family Programs Division, Headquarters Marine Corps. “Members from each installation competed to participate in this final event. We [chose to hold the final competition at] the Combat Center because we wanted to come to a place that emulated what the Marine Corps is about and that is combat.”
The Marines were chosen through HITT competitions at their respective installations utilizing a series of exercises to test their athletic performance such as kettle bell swings, tire flips, 300 yard shuttles and sand bag carries. Male and female Marines from each participating installation were chosen to compete in the event.
“We trained hard to be able to compete in this event,” said Sgt. Veronica Lewis, administrative specialist, Air Control Training Squadron based out of Combat Center. “Now we get to show how far we can go and compare ourselves with Marines from other bases.”
The different competitions were held at the West Gym, the East Gym and Del Valle Field. Each event incorporated the HITT fundamentals as well as the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer, training grenades, sandbags and bricks.
“All the challenges are designed to push Marines in athletic and mental ways. Each event strains an individual in different ways, said Massimo. “In one event we have the participants conducting strength exercises like weight lifting, then turn them around and have them conduct an agility event,” Massimo said “We [chose to hold the final competition at] the Combat Center because we wanted to come to a place that emulated what the Marine Corps is about and that is combat.”
Although they strived the best competitors, Marines from the different installations cheered each other on despite their rivalries.
“The best part of this whole competition is all the camaraderie between all of us,” said Lance Cpl. Jose Ramos, motor transportation operator, Combat Logistics Battalion 7, based out of the Combat Center. “We all want to win, but we want to see our fellow Marines succeed and overcome the challenge too.”
On the final day the points from each competitor were tallied up and the male and female winners were announced. Taking first place for the males was Cpl. Joshua Boozer, ammunition technician, 1st Tank Battalion from the Combat Center and Staff Sgt. Lauren Shoener, Provost Marshal's Office, Headquarters and Services based out of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., took first place for the females.
Holding first place belts, Boozer and Shoener were the winners solidifying them as the most fit HITT competitors amongst their peers.