CAMP MERCURY, Iraq -- Marines of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment have a new way to blow off steam at the end of the day. All they have to do is strap on a set of gloves and take a swing at another Marine.
The battalion recently received a load of brand new boxing equipment from a donor in Boston.
The shipment included a heavy punching bag, bag gloves, hand wraps and focus mitts to practice speed, form and agility. Half of the equipment will go to the Marines of L Company, headquartered at Firm Base Black near Fallujah.
“They’re stuck out there and don’t have as much exercise equipment,” said Sgt. Rich F. Litto from the 6th Civil Affairs Group attached to the battalion. “It’s top brand stuff right now, highest quality as far as boxing gear goes.”
Cpl. Sebastian B. Price, from Shreveport, La., boxed with the Camp Pendleton Boxing Team for five months before deploying with the battalion in January. He said he plans to rejoin the team when he gets back to California, and the donated equipment will help him stay in shape in Iraq, preparing himself for his goals in boxing.
“I’m trying to go to Golden Gloves, win and fight in the Panama, which is a world-wide competition,” said Price, 21.
Two former professional boxers from Boston, Tom Dogan and Danny Long, support a different charity every year, and donated the equipment to support the Marines in the fight against terrorism, Litto said.
“Both give countless hours donating time to the Boston community,” said Litto, 48, from Boston. “When I asked them for this equipment, they were almost tripping over themselves trying to help.”
Long has a son enlisted in the Navy and Dogan has a brother in the military.
“South Boston is a patriotic town,” Litto said. “We lost more Marines per square mile than any other city during the Vietnam War.”
Dogan works for a major furniture distributor, and Long trains South Boston kids the art of fighting, Litto said. “Both are hardworking men, great family people. These guys are true friends and heroes of the community.”
The new equipment came as a welcome addition to the physical training tools the battalion has on hand.
“Now I’ve got a practice tool instead of shadow boxing all the time,” Price said. “The PT aspect keeps me in shape, doing something I want to do. It helps you put an effort into it if it’s something you enjoy.”
Price, whose regular job in the Corps is a cook, is currently assigned to the battalion’s Quick Reaction Force. He practices his form between sleep time and watching his post. He said the benefits of training go beyond getting into the ring and staying in shape.
“I have become calmer since I started boxing,” Price said. “I don’t feel like I have to prove myself because I know I can fight. I don’t have a short fuse anymore.”
He said he doesn’t have a favorite boxer, but eventually wants to have footwork like Ali, punches like Tyson and speed like Maywether.