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thedrifter
09-18-03, 06:41 AM
MCMAP alive, well in combat zone
Submitted by: Marine Forces Reserve
Story Identification Number: 200391183647
Story by Cpl. Damian McGee



AL JABER, Kuwait(Sept. 11, 2003) -- Martial Arts courses are being conducted around the Marine Corps, as the deadline for Marines to be tan belt qualified nears. Despite being in a combat environment, the Marines of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR)-234 took advantage of a slowing operational tempo so they don't fall behind the requirements.

"The training couldn't have come at a more perfect time," said Dallas native Eduardo J. Dalli, a reserve diary clerk with VMGR-234. "Things were starting to slow down for us, and this training motivated us despite the fact that it was the hottest part of the year."

Originally, the Marines had no intention of doing the training, but as time permitted, the instructors saw an opportunity to conduct the classes.

"We were in the middle of training the squadron when we got the call to support the war," said Sgt. Rafael Trevino, one of two green belt instructors who conducted the course. "We assumed we wouldn't be able to pick up the training until we got back to the rear. Now that we're getting closer to the time for us to return to the states, we're slowing down and we figured this would be a good time to get some training in."

After requesting that gear be sent in with the next flight of Marines arriving in country, nearly 20 Marines from the KC-130 squadron finally started training in temperatures that reached 120 degrees during a five-week course that proved to be both challenging and rewarding.

The first and most prominent concern was the safety of the Marines.

"The training here was much different than it is in the rear," said Trevino. "The safety issue became twice as important as it is in the rear. Even in Dallas, temperatures don't reach as high as they do here. In addition to time, we're in a race with the conditions."

Because of the tremendously high temperatures, training for the Marines began at 4 a.m. and had to be completed by 10 a.m. Despite the early hour, temperatures at 4 a.m. were already nearing the 100-degree mark.

"We tried to start as early as possible," Trevino said. "All it took was the first day for the Marines to realize how important is was to constantly drink water."

In addition to the safety concern, the environment in which the training was conducted resulted in a more serious approach to the training.

"Even the ground we're training on is so much different from the states," said Dalli. "There are so many things to take into consideration while we're out here, it adds a different flavor to this training."

Despite the difficult conditions, every Marine walked away having passed the course and gained a much greater appreciation for everything they had learned.

"Being in Kuwait and knowing why we're here opened the eyes of a lot of the Marines," Dalli said. "We're not in perfect conditions, but combat is not perfect. Learning to overcome the things we've dealt with here taught us that the enemy doesn't stop because of the environment and neither did we."


http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/image1.nsf/Lookup/20039118412/$file/DesertMA01lowres.jpg

Lance Cpl. Edwardo J. Dalli works on counter to holds during a tan belt class conducted by VMGR-234. The course took place over the course of a week and was forced to start at 4:00 a.m. when the temperature was only 98 degrees.
Photo by: Cpl. Damian McGee


http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/image1.nsf/Lookup/200391184437/$file/DesertMA04lowres.jpg

Sgt. Joseph J. Dambrosio (l) and Sgt. Raphael Trevino, green belt instructors, VMGR-234, show Marines moves they will learn once they take a grey belt course.
Photo by: Cpl. Damian McGee


Sempers,

Roger
:marine: