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thedrifter
04-08-06, 07:56 AM
Marine field day tests strength and teamwork
April 08,2006
CHRIS MAZZOLINI
DAILY NEWS STAFF

The Marines took to the field Friday, with a bit of a twist.

Forsaking real war for one day, more than 1,000 Marines with New River Air Station’s Marine Air Group 29 took part in a field meet, a daylong bonanza of outdoor competitions, races and other feats of strength and fancy, such as the egg toss, the tug-of-war and the “dizzy-izzy.”

That’s right. The dizzy-izzy.

Teams of Marines from various units raced against each other, the only caveat being they had to place their forehead against the bottom of a bat and spin 15 times before they ran. The results were predictable: stumbles, wipeouts and all manner of physical comedy.

“It’s like the worst night partying you’ve ever had, all at once,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Ramsay of MAG-29’s Headquarters Battalion after his pitch with the dizzy-izzy.

Of course, there’s a purpose to all the silliness. Sgt. Maj. William Bly, the MAG’s top enlisted man, said the event promotes unit cohesiveness through competition, plus offers a welcome break from the daily grind.

“It builds comraderie, teamwork,” Bly said. “Marines naturally are competitive at spirit. It’s part of our blood that’s why we are all Marines. They like coming out and doing stuff besides work with aircraft.”

Bly, who helped start the meet last year, said the primary purpose is to engage the junior Marines. They were the ones who advised on what events to include and the specific rules, he said.

“It’s not for the CO, or the sergeant major and the old people,” Bly said. “It’s for the young Marines. I remember when I was Corporal Bly participating in stuff like this, and I liked it.”

The day kicked off with a two-mile formation run including the entire air group. After that, Marines competed in everything from a practical “stretcher carry” that mimics rescuing a wounded comrade from the battlefield to the egg toss, which shows the patient, even gentle, side of the average devil dog. An 800-meter race was offered, along with an event with a truck skeleton on skids that the Marines push as far as they can in 90 seconds.

Regardless of the event, Marines will want to compete and see who’s better, Ramsay said.

“All Marines are competitive by nature,” he said. “This gives us a chance to compete and make a fool out of ourselves.”

Lance Cpl. Andrew Solanki, a 24-year old avionics technician from Brooklyn, said the competition is fun, but he enjoyed it because he ran into lots of friends he hasn’t seen in a while.

“It brings about comraderie between all the Marines,” he said. “A lot of these guys I came through school with, so it’s good to see them again.”

Ramsay agreed.

“It brings everyone together and it boosts our morale,” he said. “It tightens us up. It’s like a meet-and-greet.”

Just then, the chorus of cheers grew loud around him. A Marine, fresh off the bat and careening madly down the field, came charging towards Ramsey.

“This is the total wrong place to be,” he said.

Contact staff writer Chris Mazzolini at cmazzolini@freedomenc.com or 353-1171, ext. 229.

Ellie