MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
To uphold the Marine Corps’ reputation as the nation’s “force in readiness,” service members with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 participated in a six-mile conditioning hike aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, May 16, 2014.
The purpose behind the hike was to build unit cohesion, camaraderie and keep Marines in a combat mindset, said Lt. Col. Howard Eyth, commanding officer of MWSS-171.
“One of the first things I did as the commanding officer was participate in a hike with MWSS-171,” said Eyth. “Seeing everyone motivating each other was a great opening experience with the squadron.”
Eyth said as he prepares to depart, it’s fitting for him to partake in one last hike with his squadron, and experience the camaraderie he’s been a part of for the last two years.
As the hump started, the mass formation marched the designated route, and guidon bearers led their respected companies.
“I had the honor to carry the guidon for Air Operations Company during the hike,” said Cpl. Christopher Spoto, bulk fuel specialist with MWSS-171. “This is my first hike with MWSS-171, so being able to carry the guidon and represent the company is definitely an ego booster. I like to be sought out for leadership positions.”
Spoto said that he enjoyed the march and the opportunity to be out in front of his friends motivating them to continue on during the hike.
According to Master Sgt. Matthew Sanders, operations chief with MWSS-171 the hike was not about having Marines drop out but, instead, to get them in a combat mindset.
“I believe MWSS-171 Marines showed that combat mindset today, just by ensuring that no Marine was left behind,” Said Sanders. “During the hike, no Marines fell out and the squadron finished together.”
According to Eyth, seeing noncommissioned officers and staff NCOs motivate, not just each other, but the entire squadron, toward the end of the hike, shows their dedication to fellow Marines.
“I may be leaving soon, but the amount of leadership shown today by my Marines lets me know I’m leaving the squadron in good hands,” said Eyth.