SEM­PER FIT

Com­pe­ti­tion builds re­la­tion­ships be­tween Ma­rine squadrons at MCAS

Yuma Sun - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAMES GIL­BERT

There can be only one, so Marines from sev­eral of the squadrons aboard Ma­rine Corps Air Sta­tion Yuma were com­pet­ing Fri­day morn­ing to be crowned the 2019 Su­per Squadron.

“It is a great op­por­tu­nity for Marines in all of the squadrons to come out and show their ca­ma­raderie, build their team­work, main­tain their phys­i­cal fit­ness and com­pete with each other” said Lt. Col. James Pax­ton, of Head­quar­ters and Head­quar­ters Squadron. “Ev­ery Ma­rine who de­sires to com­pete gets the op­por­tu­nity to do so.”

Vy­ing to win the cov­eted ti­tle were Ma­rine Air­craft Group 13, (MAG-13), Ma­rine Op­er­a­tional Test and Eval­u­a­tion Squadron 1 (VMX-1), Ma­rine Wing Sup­port Squadron 371 (MWSS-371), and Ma­rine Avi­a­tion Lo­gis­tics Squadron 13, (MALS-13).

Also com­pet­ing were Head­quar­ters and Head-

quar­ters Squadron (H&HS), Ma­rine Fighter At­tack Squadron 122, (VMFA-122) and the twotime de­fend­ing cham­pion, Ma­rine Air Con­trol Squadron 1 (MACS-1)

In ad­di­tion to hav­ing brag­ging rights for the up­com­ing year, the main tro­phy, which is per­ma­nently on dis­play at the air sta­tion gym­na­sium, will be en­graved with the 2019 Su­per Squadron’s name. A tro­phy will also be dis­played in the of­fice of the com­mand­ing of­fi­cer of the win­ning squadron

Lt. Col. Pax­ton ex­plained that the half-day com­pe­ti­tion con­sists of 10 rig­or­ous events in­clud­ing a Humvee pull, a bench press, a tire flip, a ca­su­alty evac­u­a­tion re­lay, pull ups, and an ob­sta­cle course.

Each of the seven squadrons that were com­pet­ing, he con­tin­ued, would then select some­one from their unit to par­tic­i­pate in the var­i­ous events. All com­peti­tors’ scores were then recorded, with points awarded based on how each team placed within an event.

“Just be­ing out here, see­ing Marines push them­selves, see­ing them cheer each other on, is in­spir­ing to me,” Lt. Col. Pax­ton said. “It is a bless­ing and an honor to be able to serve as a Ma­rine, to serve as a guardian and to serve here in Yuma.”

In what turned out to be a three-peat, MACS1 earned the most cu­mu­la­tive points and was pre­sented with their tro­phy. They also laid claim to the ti­tle of the 2019 Su­per Squadron of Ma­rine Corps Air Sta­tion Yuma. Head­quar­ters and Head­quar­ters Squadron was the run­ner up.

While the com­pe­ti­tion is in­tended to fur­ther strengthen the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the var­i­ous units as­signed to MCAS Yuma, Lt. Col. Pax­ton said some of the events are based on some of the phys­i­cal train­ing Marines un­dergo.

“The ca­su­alty evac­u­a­tion and re­sup­ply drill is some­thing we could ac­tu­ally have to do in com­bat at some point,” Lt. Col. Pax­ton said. “Al­most all the events are re­lated to what we do.”

Given the dif­fer­ent jobs that each of the squadrons per­form, it can of­ten make it dif­fi­cult for Marines to get to know one an­other out­side of work. While win­ning was the ul­ti­mate goal, the re­ward was get­ting the chance to bond with other Marines whom they may not see of­ten and ac­com­plish some­thing to­gether.

“I’m very thank­ful for the op­por­tu­nity I have to work with these Marines, be­cause they come from all over the coun­try, all dif­fer­ent types of back­grounds, but they are all here for one rea­son, and that is to serve their coun­try and each other, and that is an awe­some thing to see,” Lt. Col. Pax­ton said.

Only in its third year, the com­pe­ti­tion is an an­nual event now, and is held at the air sta­tion’s Me­mo­rial Sports Field Com­plex.

Buy these pho­tos at Yu­maSun.com PHO­TOS BY RANDY HOEFT/YUMA SUN

U.S. MA­RINE CORPS LANCE CPL. MICHAEL EVANS (LEFT) AND LANCE CPL. ALEX GAR­CIA pull a Humvee dur­ing the Humvee Pull event at Fri­day’s MCAS Yuma Su­per Squadron com­pe­ti­tion at Ma­rine Corps Air Sta­tion Yuma.

A MA­RINE NEARS THE TOP OF THE ROPE CLIMB (above) while an­other clears one of sev­eral hur­dles (top left) dur­ing the Ob­sta­cle Course Re­lay event. Marines carry a loaded stretcher, ammo cans and five-gal­lon con­tain­ers filled with wa­ter (left) dur­ing the Ca­su­alty Evac­u­a­tion Re­lay event.

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