FORT A.P. HILL, Va. -- Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Battalion Landing Team (BLT), 2nd Bn., 2nd Marine Regiment, took on the obstacles of the Leadership Reaction Course, here, today.The course is designed to present challenges which Golf Company had to overcome using rudimentary tools such as ropes, barrels, and wooden boards.Observers read the Marines a scenario including a set of rules and mission goals for each of the eighteen stations which make up the course, and the Marines used those guidelines to accomplish the mission.The designers of the course created the scenarios to reflect situations that may occur in combat, such as getting a case of ammunition or a barrel of fuel from one place to another. Those seemingly simple tasks were complicated by physical obstacles such as a 15-foot-wide, green-tinged pond.2nd Lieutenant James J. Wissman, a Golf Company Platoon commander, said the purpose of the course is to improve team-building skills and to encourage the Marines to use their brains to solve problems. Wissman also said the overall emphasis is enhancing the team concept.As he watched one of his fire teams work together to get an ammunition can across a water-filled chasm, Wissman said "One or two people can't do these [obstacles] themselves, it takes a team."Lance Cpl. Tyrel F. White said he enjoyed the training. "Our leaders are encouraging people to think for themselves. This kind of thing sharpens your senses and makes you think outside the box." The platoon's leadership encouraged every Marine to try to come up with ideas to solve the obstacles, giving some junior Marines their first chance to take on a leadership role.Pfc. Mark A. Jastal said the creative environment was his favorite part of the training. "It allows communication between the team leaders and their Marines. Instead of just following orders, we could come up with ideas on our own and try to use them."As the BLT progresses further into its training cycle, it will continue to emphasize the team concept, said Wissman."You will never be alone in any situation, and you have to learn to adapt and overcome," he said. "Everything we do is based on small-unit leadership. Individuals fail; platoons succeed."The BLT will continue to train with the MEU's Aviation and Logistics Combat Elements here until the end of the month. The training at Fort A.P. Hill is the MEU's first step in a six-month pre-deployment training process designed to merge the disparate elements of the MEU into a cohesive, rapid reaction force. The 26th MEU will continue to prepare for an early 2007 deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism.For more information on the 26th MEU, go to www.usmc.mil/26thmeu.