MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Before the long Easter Weekend began, Marines and Sailors with Combat Logistics 13, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, gathered near their unit’s barracks, March 28, 2013 for the “Lucky 13” Warrior Pentathlon.
The event pitted Marines from each Detachment within the Battalion against each other in a series of physical challenges that included, treating a simulated casualty, transporting the simulated casualty, programing a field radio, dueling with pugil sticks, sumo suit wrestling and racing on an obstacle course.
For the Pentathlon competition, the six teams of eight Marines and Sailors had to carry a stretcher, a 5 gallon water jug, two-30 lb. ammunition cans and two large machineguns across four miles of hilly terrain.
The beginning of the course started as a dash to the base of Engineer Hill, a looming gradual slope that gives a commanding view of the area. There, the teams of Marines had to treat someone with a simulated injury as fast as possible. They had to respond to scenarios of gunshot wounds, amputations and other trauma Marines face on the battlefield.
Once completed, the Marines carried the simulated casualty uphill for almost a mile. Upon reaching the top, the Marines had to program field radios to communicate with evaluators standing by. Just as the first challenge tested their concentration and endurance, the radio drill tested their memory and communication skills.
Another mile of running marked the turnaround point where many of them showed signs of fatigue, yet a charisma and perseverance to not let their team down. Once they crossed the finish-line, the event was far from over.
“It was really challenging, both physically and mentally, you had to rely on one another,” said Cpl. Timothy Gutshall, a welder with Maintenance Detachment, CLB-13, 13th MEU. “By far the most challenging part was carrying the casualty uphill.”
A pugil stick brawl, sumo suit wrestling match and obstacle course race between Marines from each section was waiting for the Marines when they returned.
Pugil sticks resemble oversized Q-Tips, but are not meant to be used gently. Two Marines took turns smashing the padded sticks into each other’s padded faces inside an inflatable gladiator ring. The sumo suit wrestling required two man teams to go head to head, using force and bodyweight to knock over their opponents.
The culminating event required agility, endurance and strength on a traditional Marine Corps obstacle course. Hopping over logs, scaling walls, swinging over poles and climbing a 20 foot rope were all that stood between the Marines and victory.
The Pentathlon was also a family day. Between competition events, families had the chance to socialize and enjoy the sun. The event also featured ajump house for children, a barbeque, Easter Egg hunt and an appearance by an Easter Bunny who looked very similar to an officer in the unit.
The Easter Bunny being extremely busy this time of year, gave permission to Capt. Robert L. Stevenson, operations officer for CLB-13, use his likeness and talents. However, Stevenson added his own unique flair to the uniform. A gold chain and beard worn over his white bunny costume, gave him an almost Mr. T-like appearance.
“Events like this are very important because of our busy pre-deployment training cycle,” said Stevenson. “This is a good opportunity to do some fun, motivating events, bring the kids out and share the afternoon as a family.”
For many in the unit, this event holds importance, because they will deploy later this year and may not be home to enjoy Easter with their loved ones next year.
“Any given time with your family is just special,” said Cpl. Michael Vorpahl, a motor transport operator with Motor Transportation Support Detachment, CLB-13, 13th MEU. “Being able to see my daughter participate in the Easter egg hunt was probably the best part of today.”
The day concluded with an awards ceremony. The Headquarters Section took home the golden boot as winners of the Commander’s Cup for the Pentathlon. As the day drew to a close families headed for home to enjoy the weekend before three weeks of training in the desert separated them.
CLB-13 is currently training at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, with elements of Battalion Landing Team 1/4 and Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166 (Reinforced) for a combined arms exercise. This training will embolden them for their deployment later this year as a force in readiness around the globe.