CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Early in the morning, long before sunrise, more than 300 members of 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group formed up and prepared their gear for a hike, July 19.
Participants marched for more than four hours during the battalion’s physical training session, which was meant to increase the unit’s combat readiness and cohesion.
“This is the first hike we have done as a battalion,” explained Maj. Robert L. Corl, the executive officer for 8th ESB. “We wanted to instill mental discipline and physical endurance.”
During the hike, the Marines and sailors marched nearly eight miles carrying more than 50 pounds of gear from French Creek to Onslow Beach, where they met with their family members and friends to begin a unit sponsored family day.
“We figured we were going to have fun at the beach with our family and friends, so why not, it would be good training,” Corl added.
Corl said the hike is a way to increase the mental toughness troops need, and the family event improves the unit cohesion among Marines, sailors and their family members.
Cpl. Benjamin L. Pritchard, a combat engineer who participated in the hike explained why the event was a good way to motivate him and his fellow Marines and sailors.
“I think the hike was a great exercise, although it took us a little longer than I thought it would,” Pritchard said. “Besides that, I think everyone got something out of it.
“I am really motivated about finishing this hike,” he concluded. “It is not something that I personally enjoy doing by myself, but being there marching alongside my friends makes it a lot better.”