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Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force

Integrated Task Force Marines build camaraderie, strength during hike

By | | November 21, 2014

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Marines and sailors with the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force stepped off for a task force-wide combat conditioning hike aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in the early hours of Nov. 21, 2014.

            The hike was conducted to upkeep physical standards across the task force, challenging each individual’s mental and physical endurance. Weapons Company, Headquarters and Service Company, Company A, Company B, and Battery A followed as Col. Matthew G. St. Clair, commanding officer, GCEITF, led the hike alongside Sgt. Maj. Robin C. Fortner, sergeant major, GCEITF.

            The task force hiked approximately 10-kilometers. The Marines carried a varied array of weapons; from standard M16A4 and M4 service rifles, to M240B machine guns, Mk-153 shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapons and 60mm mortar systems, in addition to an assault fighting load.

            “The hike went very well in my opinion,” said Sgt. Thomas Faenza, ramp chief, Tank Platoon, Co. B, GCEITF. “The most important part of (training) is to break individual barriers and force (Marines) to understand that once they take themselves out of their comfort zones, they can achieve a level much further than what they can do.”

            At the conclusion of the hike, the task force convened and St. Clair congratulated the task force for a job well done, but reminded them to keep working hard.

      “This task force will later do a (15-kilometer hike),” St. Clair said. “We’re going to get heavier. Every day we work our way up to that next level. It's what we do.”

From October 2014 to July 2015, the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force will conduct individual and collective skills training in designated combat arms occupational specialties in order to facilitate the standards based assessment of the physical performance of Marines in a simulated operating environment performing specific ground combat arms tasks.


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