Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ben Larscheid, FLEACT,Yokosuka Public Affairs
Marines assigned to Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team Pacific (FASTPAC), 4th Platoon, wrapped up a week-long squad competition aboard Fleet Activities (FLEACT),Yokosuka, March 21.
Throughout the week, the critical skills required of infantry Marines in a Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team were tested physically, mentally and academically. A series of events was designed to test Marines’ proficiency in infantry skills — from weapons manipulation and expertise in assembly and disassembly, to uniform and barracks room inspections and Marine history and technical knowledge exams.
“Due to the nature of our independence, we must be well-versed in the full spectrum of skills required to shoot, move, and communicate,” said Capt. Neal Jones, FASTPAC, 4th Platoon commander. “As Marines we must continuously test our military prowess through competition on both the academic side of the military as with the physical aspect of our job.”
According to Staff Sgt. Cliff Wooldridge,FASTPAC, 4th Platoon sergeant, putting so many tough events into a competition format is an effective way of keeping Marines fully trained and combat ready.
“Stress is everywhere in our line of work and being able to deal with it and still be able to complete multiple tasks is a necessity,” said Wooldridge. “Keeping the Marines’ minds sharp when they are tired,sore and hungry is crucial when in combat and that’s what we train for every day, so we can outlast the enemy physically and mentally.”
“For an infantryman, losing a battle is not an option,” added Jones. “Marines continue to win our nation’s battles because as a Corps, we place a premium on teamwork, fostering decentralized decision making, empowering subordinate small unit leaders, and developing warrior athletes through physical conditioning.”
The week culminated Friday with a Combat Endurance Test, a six-station event analyzing physical readiness, weapons and communications equipment skills, and written history, weapons knowledge, and standardized five-paragraph NATO orders process exams.
“The week’s events were individually scored and the squad average was taken. The squad averages were pitted against each other, and the squad with the highest average won. The results were close, but 3rd Squad took it this time,” said Wooldridge
.“The Marines from FASTPAC walked away from a hard week of training feeling like they earned something and the winning squad gets the bragging rights until next time,” said Jones.