ABOARD USS CARTER HALL -- The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program was first introduced nearly two years ago to better prepare Marines for the violence of combat, while educating them on the need for judicious application of such force. Since then, Marines around the world have been kicking and punching their way from tan to black belt.
For the Marines and Sailors of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), this program has become a daily part of life on each ship of the USS Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group. On the USS Carter Hall, one Marine has taken martial arts training to a whole new level.
Gunnery Sgt. Jermal Rogers, a platoon sergeant with Weapons Platoon, Alpha Company and the head black belt ?instructor-trainer? aboard the USS Carter Hall had one goal in mind for his martial arts students - every Marine earns the highest belt he or she can test for according to his/her rank during this deployment. For lance corporals and below, that goal is a gray belt. For corporals, it?s a green belt and for sergeants and above, it?s a brown belt, he said.
?So far, we are at 95 percent of that goal,? said the Hattiesburg, Miss., native. But, by the end of the deployment, the Marines of the Carter Hall should be at 100 percent, he added.
Rogers has been involved in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program since 2001.This program incorporates three disciplines: mental, character and physical.
The mental discipline develops each Marine?s combat mindset. Character discipline integrates ethics, values, principles and leadership along with the Marine Corps? core values of honor, courage and commitment. Finally, the physical discipline comprises the actual fighting techniques the Marines will learn and perfect.
On the Carter Hall, Rogers has paid particular attention to training sergeants and more senior Marines to be instructors for the tan through brown belts. Once qualified, these new martial arts instructors will then train the other Marines and Sailors onboard the USS Carter Hall.
?The Marine Corps Martial Arts Programs is great,? said Sgt. Jed Smith, a section leader for Alpha Company. ?It gives Marines tools they can use to ensure they walk away from a fight.?
Currently, five Carter Hall Marines are working toward becoming brown belt instructor?trainers, additionally, Rogers noted that he has already had Marines express interest in going to Quantico, Va., to further their martial arts training to become black belt instructor-trainers.
For Rogers and the Marines of the 26th MEU (SOC), the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program has given them the tools to be successful in combat and the self-confidence and character to be successful in life.
To learn more about the Marine Corps? Martial Arts Program with the 26th MEU (SOC), visit their website at www.26meu.usmc.mil.