MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Marine Aircraft Group 12 Marines competed in a sacred ritual known as fight night here June 29, 2012. MAG-12 Marines created camaraderie and friendly competition through combative training, including grappling, boxing and a barbeque.
“Today we tried to bring all the Marines together to bring up their morale, camaraderie, esprit de corps and motivation up through the roof,” said Gunnery Sgt. Paris Mintz, MAG-12 headquarters first sergeant. “I feel it was a success here today.”
Although fight night was based around having a good time and giving the Marines something productive to do, it allowed them an opportunity to train and maintain their combat mindset.
“We try to train them and make sure these Marines are ready for combat, everything we do here is tailored toward a good combat mindset to provide combat power not only in the air, but on the ground as well. And if we need to take it to the enemy hand-to-hand combat style, we need to be able to do so, so we incorporated fight night,” said Mintz.
Many Marines stationed here are not given the opportunity to serve in a combat environment, but it is important to keep a combat mindset at all times, Mintz added.
“The Marines enlist voluntarily during a time of war,” said Sgt. Peter N. Hatfield, MAG-12 Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Defense non-commissioned officer in charge. “They go to boot camp, all they talk about is combat. Then they go to Marine Combat Training and all they talk about is combat. When they go to (their Military Occupational Specialty) school it starts to shift a little bit toward the technical skills.”
“Then they get to the fleet,” Hatfield added. “Especially Iwakuni because we don’t deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan, so the Marines here in the wing lose that combat mindset. Unless they stay current on it within their sections, whether it be Combat Marksmanship Training or Martial Arts Training, they kind of lose that combat training. So, to return that combat mindset and have them remember, ‘I am still a warrior, I am a Marine, I still can be called upon to kill people and fight at any moment,’”
Many believe that combat training is important to all Marines and that in order to keep up with mission accomplishment, all Marines need to be able to withstand the pressures they may face in combat.
“It’s a lot different training between peers and having that practice in a real time scenario instead of doing it in a step by step environment with a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program instructor, the training is just worlds apart,” said Pfc. Matthew J. Ahn, MAG-12 CBRN defense clerk.
Marines were able to choose their competition openly, whether to settle a squall or just to battle in a safe, friendly, competitive environment.
“When you’re always with people that you live with and work with, you all become brothers, and brothers fight and get that anger going," said Ahn. "It’s great to have an event where we can challenge each other and let out a little bit of that stress.”