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Marine's May Have New Training Method
By Charlie Coon
Stars and Stripes
European Edition

February 10, 2004

ROTA NAVAL STATION, Spain Marines might have to get used to new ways of physical training.

Combat Conditioning was taught last week to members of the Marine Corps Security Forces Europe in Rota. The techniques are supposed to simulate marching, hand-to-hand combat and other job skills.

The Marines at Rota have been ordered to employ Combat Conditioning in their daily workouts. The rest of the corps might be next.

"It's better [physical training]," said Lance Cpl. Trinity Dupre of Jackson, Miss. "It's more concentrated on the muscles. It's not fast and repetitious but more of a workout.

"It's designed to have variety. I don't like PT where we're doing the same thing every day."

The program was taught by Staff Sgt. Phillip Wyman and Sgt. David Gonzales of the MCSF Training Company in Norfolk, Va. Wyman said he was scheduled to be sent next to Bahrain, Cuba and the Dominican Republic to teach Marines there about Combat Conditioning.

The old PT might have had Marines doing some quick stretches, jumping jacks and squat thrusts. Then they'd head out for a three-mile run, and that would be PT for the day.

The new method has Marines warming up their muscles before stretching them. It features exercises such as push-ups with arms in close that simulate a punch. Exercises require a tucked-in stomach, straight back, and a stance that's solid and aggressive.

"It's not so much going through the motions," Dupre said. "With this program, it takes less time and I get a lot better workout."

In Combat Conditioning, the precision of exercises is more important than the amount, according to Lance Cpl. Garret Ullal of Santa Cruz, Calif.

"This week I feel we did better PT than in the last six months," Ullal said.

The course was taught to the Rota group over five days. The Marines had to take a 50-question written test at the end of the week, then demonstrate the new exercises they learned. They received a white binder filled with pages and a CD to study from.

Thirty of the 230 Marines in MCSF Europe took the course. Fourteen will be instructors.

"You now have the power to change your PT program here within your company," Wyman told them.

The mission of MCSF Europe is in its name security. The company is required to be ready on short notice to deploy and provide security for a ship, a base or any other asset. Last summer, for example, Marines from Rota were sent to Monrovia, Liberia, to protect the U.S. Embassy and civilians during unrest in the western African country.

The Rota Marines have different jobs but are all sentries in one way or another.

"When we have to stand post for four to eight hours, this will help us with our discipline," Ullal said. "It will also help us when we're toting gear, plates, flacks."

"The bottom line," said Capt. T.R. Crellin, the company's executive officer, "is it prepares them for combat."

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This article is provided courtesy of Stars & Stripes, which got its start as a newspaper for Union troops during the Civil War, and has been published continuously since 1942 in Europe and 1945 in the Pacific. Stripes reporters have been in the field with American soldiers, sailors and airmen in World War II, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo, and are now on assignment in the Middle East.

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Copyright 2004 Stars and Stripes. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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