MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Marines from Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron participated in the Frozen Chosin Competition at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Feb. 25, 2016.The competition is set to resemble the rigorous struggles Marines faced during the battle of the Chosin Reservoir in 1950.
By testing physical endurance and strength throughout multiple consecutive events, the competition helps build morale, confidence and esprit de corps within the squadron. Teams consisting of six members completed a series of events including a pull up and sit up contest, a 5k supply run, a 600 meter swim, and a 250 meter sprint before finally constructing and presenting professional military education.
“We were able to get a stretcher to figure out how we wanted to carry someone for the run and had ammo cans, water jugs and practiced,” said Lance Cpl. Colton Corsetti, provost marshal’s office military working dog handler with H&HS. “We also conduct physical training every day either by running laps on or off base, pull ups or playing sports. We have always wanted to be the leaders when it comes to physical competitions and when it comes to H&HS —especially PMO.”
The winner of the event will either take a trip to Iwo Jima or the demilitarized zone, a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula that serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea. Crossing the 38th parallel, the DMZ cuts Korea in half and is the most heavily armed border in the world.
“This helps Marines become better as leaders,” said Lance Cpl. Klayton Inmon, personnel administration clerk at the Installation Personnel Administration Center outbound management branch. “It’s a gut check and challenges Marines as a group because if someone has to work with someone they do or don’t like, they have to put all of their personal relationships aside and set their minds on one goal — one mission. That’s what the Marine Corps is one team, one fight. It’s better to be selfless than to be selfish.”
Various departments from H&HS participated in the competition creating 12 teams. Departments included aircraft recue firefighting, the distribution management office, station judge advocate, IPAC, data communications, and PMO’s accident investigation department, special reaction team, and K-9 unit, who took first place this year.
“Running three and a half miles with someone on a stretcher, carrying rifles and ammo cans, swimming, and teaching educational lessons, the competition is all about that struggle of coming together and working as a team,” said Corsetti. “All of the great war stories and heroes that came from the Korean war and the examples they left are what we push to carry in today’s Marine Corps.”
According to Inmon, the competition builds Marines physically and mentally by pushing them past their limits and allowing them to accomplish the mission.
“Whether Marines are low on ammo, don’t have enough food, shelter, walking for miles in the cold or fighting the elements with minimal gear, they still accomplish the mission,” said Staff Sgt. David Pagan, training chief with H&HS. “The Marines carried a casualty a mile and a half with all of their gear on their back, dropping the casualty, picking up water jugs and running back with all of their gear. They are pushing through this huge ordeal together and I’m out there yelling and trying to give them some motivation.”
Pagan said even though the competition is held by H&HS, other units on the air station as well as sailors are encouraged to participate.
“Hopefully next year the service members that couldn’t make it out will participate,” said Pagan. “I look back in history and am astounded. I think our Corps is amazing. We are the first ones in and the last ones out.”