MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Service members with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron swam 239 kilometers (149 miles), Nov. 3, 2014, at the indoor pool inside IronWorks Gym aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, to celebrate the 239th Marine Corps Birthday.
H&HS service members swam 2,390 accumulative laps in one day as a reminder of how the Marine Corps began.
“The purpose of this event was to celebrate the Marine Corps Birthday by bringing us back to our roots as amphibious war fighters,” said Sgt. Giancarlo Maragni, the S-3 training noncommissioned officer with H&HS.
Marine Aircraft Group 12 is celebrating by running 239 miles within a week, but Maragni said he wanted to swim instead because it would remind Marines of their historical roots.
“It’s important to always know where you came from,” said Maragni. “Marines forget that we are amphibious, so you get them in a pool and it reminds them that we’re supposed to swim, that’s how we started.”
The event brought Marines together for a celebration, but it also built a stronger bond within the unit.
“If you set a goal for a team, they eventually start coming together,” said Maragni. “There were times during the swim when I would see a group of Marines come in and they wouldn’t leave the pool, eventually they would all take a break and they would be talking to other Marines they didn’t know. It was good cohesion for everyone.”
According to Sgt. Maj. Coleman R. Kinzer, the squadron sergeant major, the unit as a whole is already strong, but the swim allowed them to become stronger as a unit because they are working towards a common goal.
The swim not only proved to strengthen camaraderie, but also showed the units sense of commitment.
Kinzer said there were Marines voluntarily swimming lap after lap, knowing there was no reward other than the satisfaction of completing a goal that was set for their squadron.
More than 200 Marines showed up to help finish the swim and Maragni said he’s sure that the swim will be a memorable event for those who participated because they met the high goal that they set.