MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron Marines and soldiers endured physical and mental discomfort to strengthen brotherly ties in healthy rivalry during the Ironman Team Competition aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Feb. 5, 2014.
“We do this to have friendly competition amongst the Marines, soldiers and sailors with a prize of a PME (professional military education) trip to Osan, Korea, and the Demilitarized Zone tour,” said Lt. Col. F. Lance Lewis, commanding officer of H&HS. “We do it in February because it’s freezing cold right now and to celebrate and pay honor to the Marines and soldiers who have gone before us in the Korean War. It might feel a little cold, but it’s nothing compared to what they went through before.”
Teams battled it out in several timed events, starting with 400 push-ups, running through an obstacle course and finished with a three-mile resupply run.
Despite discomfort and exhaustion, Marines showed eagerness to participate and endure many challenges they faced in the competition.
“This event is good for morale,” said Lewis. “We did the first competition last year and we had five teams. This year, we have 11 teams competing. Despite the hardships, this is all mental toughness. Anything physically challenging, your body will tell you to stop long before your mind is ready and Marines are proving that here today.”
The Provost Marshals’ Office team proved their mental toughness was superior to their physical strength, coming in first place with seconds to spare before their competitors.
“It was all heart and hundreds of hours of preparation in the gym,” said Lance Cpl. Eric Geyer, a military policeman with the PMO special reaction team. “We stayed humble and pushed on even when we struggled. It was fun because we’re all friends, so it wasn’t as hard when we’re all sitting there laughing in pain.”
Although the competition was an opportunity to strengthen camaraderie between service members aboard station, winners will also participate in an educational trip to Korea and the DMZ, in honor of the “Frozen Chosin,” and to learn more about the history of the Marines who fought so valiantly.
“The champions and I will go to Korea and feel the effects of the weather and learn Marine Corps history,” said Lewis. “We’ll go through tours, learn about the Korean War, what part the Marines played in it and why it’s so important in the news today.”