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Cpl. Kevin Lawrence, a 21-year-old radio operator from Hartford, Conn., with Task Force 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, is locked in an arm bar during Marine Corps Martial Arts Program training at Camp Baharia, Iraq, Nov. 26. Marines have been practicing MCMAP to maintain a combat mindset and as a way of physical training. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Achilles Tsantarliotis)(RELEASED)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Achilles Tsantarlioti

Marines maintain combat mindset

26 Nov 2008 | Lance Cpl. Achilles Tsantarliotis

(November 26, 2008) – As Marines with Task Force 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, continue their transition to an advisory and over watch position in Iraq, retaining combat skills remains a priority.

Lately, the Marines are conducting daily Marine Corps Martial Arts Program courses to help them maintain their ability to be vigilant both mentally and physically.

MCMAP is a combat system developed in 2001 by the U.S. Marine Corps to combine existing and new hand-to-hand and close quarters combat techniques with morale and team-building functions. 

Sgt. Matthew Lankenau, a 22-year-old platoon sergeant and MCMAP instructor from Liverpool, N.Y., with 1st Bn., 3rd Marines, said it is important for Marines to maintain and advance their skills, especially in a combat zone.

 “If (a bad) situation occurs (MCMAP) will help keep you in the right mindset; your ready to react,” said Lankenau. “It keeps you in the combat mentality, and if that’s not important during a deployment I don’t know what is.”

Lankenau and several other Marines have been volunteering their time to teach and train any Marine wanting to advance in MCMAP.

“We give them the tools,” he said. “We supply them with the equipment they need, and instruct them for the worse case scenario.”

Lance Cpl. Ridge Blackburn, an assaultman with Headquarters & Support Company, 1st Bn., 3rd Marines, said the courses have been a tremendous help to him. He said when on patrol he feels more confident and alert because of the training.

“(MCMAP) is very important, especially for the war we’re in,” said Blackburn. “Anyone could get within an arm’s distance and grab your rifle.”

“It comes down to always being ready and prepared for anything,” Lankenau said. “(Training) is what it’s all about, and like they say ‘complacency kills.’”