Photo Information

Cpl. James R. Keener, 26 MEU, S6, looks at the rest of the obstacle he and his team are trying to traverse during the Litter Bearer training held March 20.

Photo by Staff Sgt. William T. Kinsey

26th MEU trains to save lives

20 Mar 2006 | Staff Sgt. William T. Kinsey 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Marines never leave other Marines behind.

Because of this powerful commitment, the Marines and sailors of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit spent the morning weaving through concertina-wired pits and waist-deep trenches while carrying a 150-pound training dummy on a field stretcher during the Litter Bearer Obstacle Course, March 20.

The course is designed to simulate evacuating injured personnel in a combat environment. 

"We wanted to get the Marines out here to learn the process and difficulties with evacuating their injured," said Cmdr. Matthew A. Carlberg, 26th MEU Surgeon. 

One of the difficulties Carlberg wanted the Marines to understand was the physical demands it takes to carry a 150-pound dummy through the course.

At different areas of the course, the Marines were required to lift the dummy to shoulder height to move it through an obstacle and in other areas, they had to rotate the simulated victim so the feet or head was in the lead.

The Marines faced more than fatigue, water and concertina wire during the training. At random points in the course, they were required to simulate protecting their wounded during attacks.

"We wanted to give them a realistic sense of what could happen," said Petty Officer 1st Class Shawnreno Ricks, 26th MEU Hospital Corpsman. "We wanted to show what you have to do when firing is going on overhead and you still have to move forward."

A realistic sense is what some Marines will most remember about the course.

"The hardest part of the training was the freezing water and the mud," said Cpl. Chris D. Gunlefinger, an administrative clerk for the 26th MEU. "It was a very rigorous course."

After the Marines and Sailors had completed the course, they returned to their headquarters, taking with them a positive perspective of the training.

"If you get the chance, do it," said Gunlefinger. "It’s good to get out of the office and be a Marine."

Ricks felt the training was an overall success in teaching the Marines what most hospital corpsman have to endure in a combat environment.

"Everyone was willing to do the training and if you’re willing to do it, you’ll get more out of it," said Ricks. 

The Marines of the 26th MEU continue to prepare for the upcoming training cycle scheduled to begin in June. The cycle will prepare the Marines for a 2007 deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism.