MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT -- Dating back to 431 B.C., the Spartans of ancient Greece strived to excel in duty, discipline and endurance. Their superior warrior ethics made them an elite fighting culture, one that used extreme physical competitions to hone their warrior skills.
Nearly two and half centuries later, on a recent field of battle, the Spartans of Marine Wing Communication Squadron 28 emulated their namesakes by conducting physical contests to gauge their Marines’ abilities to be superior warrior athletes. It was Jan. 29, 2016, and the squadron’s three companies battled head-to-head at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., to earn the Spartan Cup and bragging rights as the squadron’s toughest warriors.
The semi-annual field meet featured a series of mental and physical tests designed to challenge a Marine’s ability to act under stress and employ essential capabilities, like communication, knowledge and physical strength while in a high-stress environment.
“Since the beginning of time, the Marine Corps has valued physical fitness,” said Sgt. Maj. Rogelio DeLeon, the squadron sergeant major. “I think it is very clear to us that being a military athlete requires mind, body and spirit.”
The Marines challenged themselves by competing in activities including tug-of-war, Humvee push and ammunition can lift. The Marines’ knowledge was also tested during the competition, which ended with Company A as the Spartan Cup champions.
“The Marine Corps has had games to gauge Marines’ fitness levels, to see where they stood and what their capabilities were all in a fun, competitive spirit,” said DeLeon.
The meet forced the Marines to act as a group and depend on one another, further strengthening the unit cohesion within the squadron.
“I thought it was a good camaraderie builder,” said Sgt. Julia Junk, a field radio operator with Company A, MWCS-28. “It brought the Marines together and it was good competition between the companies.”
Although the Marines enjoyed a day of old-fashioned Marine Corps fun, they also understood the importance of taking a break to reinvigorate their selves to continue supporting the squadron’s mission.
“The field meet is important because supporting the squadron can be tasking and it is easy to become complacent,” said Junk. “The field meet is a good way for us to set aside time to be competitive and boost camaraderie.”
Ultimately, the MWCS-28 field of battle was far less bloody than that of their ancient Greek forebears, but many of the lessons learned were the same – especially, teamwork is the sharpest sword on the field.