AL QA'IM, Iraq --
Enduring a deployment is a true testament to the physical and mental stamina innate in service members who have long taken pride in the completion of obstacles set before them.
Holding firm to this mentality, Marines, soldiers and sailors from Task Force 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 undertook the Endurance Challenge hosted by the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Center at Camp Al Qa’im, Iraq, March 30.
The crowd of service members arrived at the event willing to put it all on the line and conquer any obstacle in their path.
The timed course began with a set of suicide sprints and the completion of a high-step tire obstacle. Competitors were then required to carry a 100-pound weight 75 yards until they reached the 7-ton truck tire, in which they flipped roughly 10 times to reach the next station.
With the feeling of fatigue apparent in the faces of the challengers, they then took on a grueling 30 box jumps. The final portion of the course was to carry 15 sand bags to the finish line. Determined competitors chose to carry three at a time as they staggered to complete the event.
“It was definitely an eye-opener, both mentally and physically,” said Gunnery Sgt. Anthony Inman, the engineer chief for Task Force 3rd Bn., 2nd Marines. “You use similar muscle groups from station to station, so you have to fight through the urge to stop.”
After several competitors lumbered through the course, a sandstorm crept over the horizon, but service members meet the adverse conditions as an added challenge.
“We were considering shutting down the event, but everyone was motivated to finish, so we pushed through it,” said Bryan Bradford, an MWR coordinator. “You could barely see in front of you, but these guys were still going.”
The event was the first of its kind for service members at Camp Al Qa’im.
“We promoted this event for a while because we knew (service members) would enjoy it,” said Bradford. “We had done some speed and strength drills in the past, but we came up with the idea to link them together.”
At day’s end, most who accepted the Endurance Challenge were physically worn down, but their spirits were high.
“We got a good challenge out of it, and we were able to find out what our limits were,” said Inman. “It was just a good opportunity to break out of the monotony of our normal routines and meet some new faces.”
Having their fellow service members at their side cheering them on was an undeniable force in fighting through the fatigue.
“I think these types of events really help build camaraderie, especially when your buddies are pushing you on through the pain,” said Bradford.
The fastest time for the course was by Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam Greene with a time of 5 minutes, 17 seconds.
As members of Task Force 3rd Bn., 2nd Marines proudly endure through their deployment to Iraq, they continue to find the power within to persevere through any new challenge.