The United States Marine Corps is built from the ground up on teamwork, from patrolling the crags and steep slopes in the mountains of Afghanistan, to passing out toys to needy children at Christmas time. Teamwork is the adhesive that holds the Corps’ foundation together.
Marines at Recruiting Sub-Stations Akron and Canton, Recruiting Station Cleveland, understand the great benefit of starting teamwork training early within their pool of enlistees, the young men and women waiting to attend recruit training. The two sub-stations held a field-meet on March 14 at Canton McKinley Park, Canton, Ohio, to show their respective pools why the Marine Corps team has had so much success.
While the young men and women in the delayed entry program stretched, Sgt. Joshua J. Rowe cut the brisk spring morning air with, “Today is all about teamwork.
“Today you will be put on a team with a group of individuals you don’t know and still be expected to get the job done. You will work with them through the events, and you will eat chow with them, because these are your future brothers and sisters in the Corps. ”
The idea of taking the poolees out of their comfort zones is a very important step in helping to build their self confidence and leadership skills. Most of all, this will challenge their ability to swallow their pride, work with others and become successful together, explained Rowe, the recruiter from Permanent Contact Station New Philadelphia.
The poolees were formed into teams and participated in pull-ups, push-ups, crunches, and a 20-yard relay race. The teams moved to each event in a round-robin rotation. Points were awarded for each of the events within the rotation.
After completing the four initial events, the teams were challenged again in a farmer’s carry relay race with 45-pound weights. Pitted head-to-head, the teams raced each other with tenacity and vigor.
With aching arms, legs and hands, the poolees faced each other in a tug-of-war tournament. As the final competition, the tug-of-war was a test of strength and agility that ensured all the poolees expended their last bit of energy as a team.
“It is important for the poolees to get the idea that in the Marine Corps, no one fails or succeeds alone. No one person is stronger than the weakest part of any team,” explained Staff Sgt. William R. LeMasters, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of RSS Akron. “No matter where they go in the Marine Corps, they will have to work with people they aren’t familiar with and still be able to accomplish the mission at hand.”
After the physical portion of the field meet, the Poolees sat down with their teams to enjoy the finest Marine Corps chow: Meals, Ready-to-Eat. Marines like Pfc. Aaron Byard joined the poolees for lunch and told them about his recent experience, training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.
“Everything at boot camp is done as a team.” Byard said to a captive audience. “Whether you’re polishing brass for hours on end or firing on the rifle range, you’re always with your team.”
In closing, Byard told the poolees how teamwork played a large role in the crucible, the 3-day culminating exercise at recruit training.
“At Parris Island, you learn that the most powerful thing about teamwork is that the team is made up of individuals that come from all over the east coast. They come together from different places and backgrounds for the common good. That’s what the Marine Corps is all about.”