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Staff Sgt. Jermarcus L. Tate (left), the assistant camp commandant of Camp Korean Village, Iraq, grips the sides of a 10-pound weight plate performing an exercise the CLB-7 Marines call the NASCAR driver during a physical training session at the Cross Fit Gym located aboard Camp Korean Village, Iraq, June 8, 2009. This improvised gym is made up of miscellaneous pieces of extra weight and exercise equipment as well as objects that can be found aboard any Marine Corps base, such as sand-filled ammunition cans filled (U.S. Marine Corps photograph by Lance Cpl. Melissa A. Latty)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Melissa A. Latty

Marines adapt and overcome to stay in shape during Iraq deployment

21 Jun 2009 | Lance Cpl. Melissa Latty

Using limited resources, the Marines of Combat Logistics Battalion 7, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), find creative ways to stay fit while awaiting the completion of their new Morale, Welfare and Recreation gymnasium, slated to open July 1.

For some, the workouts are mandatory, but others come to prove and improve themselves physically.  A common Marine Corps saying, “pain is weakness leaving the body,” is known all too well by the Marines who dare to enter the Camp Korean Village Cross Fit Gym.

This improvised gym is made up of weights, miscellaneous exercise equipment and other objects you would find aboard any Marine Corps base, such as sand-filled ammunition cans and kettle bells.

Camp Korean Village has been without a gym facility since early March, when the gym was dismantled.  Since then, Marines have found new ways to stay in shape.

            “The Marines here have learned to adapt and overcome when it comes to physical training,” said Staff Sgt. Jermarcus L. Tate, the assistant camp commandant of Camp Korean Village. “We put together this makeshift gym to give the Marines a place to exercise. Here they can use a mixture of weights as well as their own body weight and gravity to get a full-body workout.”

            The Cross Fit area is open to all service members and contractors aboard the base for personal use or during Tate’s ‘House of Pain’ physical training session.

            Tate’s particular workout focuses on combat conditioning.  With the use of stations, the participants are able to work out every part of their bodies. Some of the stations incorporate parts of the combat fitness test, a new physical fitness test that was recently made a requirement by the Marine Corps.

            “This kind of workout prepares you for real-life situations,” said Cpl. Christopher Wolters, a clerk at the camp commandant’s office, CLB- 7.   “It also allows you to be inventive.  Instead of picking up a 25-pound dumbbell that you can find in any gym, you have to find objects that you think are the equivalent.”

            Marines also engage in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and attend an abdominal exercise class given three times a week by Navy Lt. Cmdr. Gerald W. Platt, the officer-in-charge of the shock trauma platoon with CLB-7.          

            “Our biggest slogan is no excuses, just results,” Tate said. “It’s something my leaders used to tell me and it has been my mentality ever since.”

            Although the newly built gym will become a part of most Marines’ daily physical training regimen, Tate said he doesn’t expect to lose participants at the Cross Fit Gym.

            “These Marines have made this workout a part of their physical training routine,” said Tate. “Although the new gym will be popular, I don’t [foresee] the Cross Fit gym going away.”

A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new gym is scheduled to be held aboard the base July 1.


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