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CAMP HABBANIYAH, Iraq (September 13, 2008) – Sgt. Alberto Andino, the battalion maintenance management chief with Headquarters and Service Company, Task Force 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, executes a wrist lock on Pvt. Chad Reep, the battalion maintenance management clerk Sept. 12. Marines are participating in an accelerated and focused course designed to increase their aptitude for MCMAP by two belts in a matter of weeks. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt

Martial arts program helps Marines stay focused

13 Sep 2008 | Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt

CAMP HABBANIYAH, Iraq (September 13, 2008) – The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program is much more than a simple belt color. With each belt a Marine obtains comes increased skill, maturity and an enhanced warrior ethos. 

Marines with Headquarters and Service Company, Task Force 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, are continuing their advancement in MCMAP while deployed to Iraq.

Marines are participating in an accelerated but thorough and focused course designed to increase their aptitude for MCMAP by two belts in a matter of weeks.

Instructors say the speed of the course helps Marines maintain focus.

“The course isn’t being rushed,” explained Staff Sgt. Andrew Stitt, the assistant radio chief with the company. “The time spent on training is the same, but the quickness allows Marines to better focus and achieve their goal.” 

Marines endured intense physical training as they participated in individual and group exercises designed to increase their overall combat readiness.

“We may not be faced with immediate threats each day, but its important Marines remain ready,” explained Lance Cpl. Kirkland Wade, a 19-year-old intelligence analyst with the battalion. “MCMAP keeps you in the combat mindset.”   

Complacency is something that every Marine battles in an increasingly secure Iraq, and MCMAP aids in combating that complacency, added Wade, a Conway, S.C., native.

A large part of the training is the development of a Marine’s warrior ethos. The warrior ethos is the moral courage and character instilled within the Marines as they progress through the course.

“The MCMAP program is designed around the physical, mental and character disciplines,” said Stitt. “All these tie together to make a well rounded Marine”  

Not only did the course teach Marines how to handle themselves in a close quarter combat situation, but it also instructed Marines how to handle situations outside of combat.

 Stitt said MCMAP is not only about being a warrior, but a gentleman as well. A Marine must understand when to turn the “combative engine” on and he must be able to turn it off just as quick, he said.

 Enduring grueling physical training sessions and hours of technical instruction, Marines with the company continue to strive for well-defined warrior ethos.