U.S. Marines from 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, won the 3rd Marine Division Squad Competition after a week of events at Camps Hansen and Gonsalves, in Okinawa, Japan, March 15 – 20, 2020.
During the competition, the squads competed in a variety of challenges including two 5 kilometer runs with full fighting load, land navigation, a timed obstacle course and jungle combat patrols. The squads also fought for the best time in a 3.8 mile endurance course consisting of land, water and rope obstacles. The final event was a combat marksmanship competition with Marines engaging targets from 200, 300 and 500 yards away.
“This competition is not just a check in the box. It’s a physically and mentally demanding challenge; up hills, down cliffs and through every mud puddle in the jungle,” said Sgt. Francisco Corona, the squad leader of the winning squad from 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.
All four divisions in the Marine Corps were represented during this competition. Under the Unit Deployment Program, Marines from each division came together to compete on behalf of their unit. The Unit Deployment Program rotates battalions from each Marine Division to Okinawa and allows them to conduct training in new and austere environments.
“This competition is not just a check in the box. It’s a physically and mentally demanding challenge; up hills, down cliffs and through every mud puddle in the jungle.” Sgt. Francisco Corona, Squad Leader of the winning squad
Through this training, Lance Cpl. Chloe Pham, an infantry Marine with the winning squad, explains how her squads’ cohesion and camaraderie allowed them to achieve success.
“It’s great to have been able to win this competition and show what our squad can do. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, but I’m even prouder to be a member of a great team and family,” said Pham.
Pride in the winning squad’s accomplishment was shared by their leadership, who guided them through the training where they mastered their warfighting skills.
“We are incredibly proud of our victors. These Marines and Sailors competed their hearts out as a team, a family and as a lethal squad.” said 1st Sgt. Matthew Fraley, Company First Sergeant of Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.
Competitions like this foster brilliance in the basics and facilitate the competitive, fighting spirit of U.S. Marines.