MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.-- -- Representatives from the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns, visited Marines here July 19 to get the down-and-dirty scoop on the Marine Corps warrior ethos.
The group, which included members of the managerial staff and some coaches, started their tour at Marine Corps Air Station New River. After catching a CH-53D helicopter to II Marine Expeditionary Force headquarters building, they then received an orientation on the process of making Marines from drill instructors imported from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, who explained the training process Marines go through to earn the coveted eagle, globe, and anchor.
“I liked hearing about how recruits are indoctrinated into becoming Marines. It’s similar to what we try to do in terms of bringing in young players and develop them into a team,” said Phil C. Savage, general manager of the team.
After the group had a clear understanding of the indoctrination process, Marines from 2nd Marine Division’s 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, took over to discuss how they take their training to the battlefield, weaponry, the life of an infantryman and the realities of war.
However, no amount of talk could begin to encompass the complexities, so the Browns were taken to the range for some weapons training and get first-hand experience of the tactics common to platoons throughout the corps.
“It’s something totally outside the realm of what most of us have done our whole lives. We grew up handling footballs, basketballs and baseballs, and not necessarily guns,” said Savage.
After the Browns baked in the Carolina sun for a few hours, they were coated with sweat and a film of dust from the range. The team executives were beginning to show signs of fatigue, but the Marines weren’t done yet.
A convoy from 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance picked up the team and transported them to the Military Operations in Urban Terrain training area, where 1/8 demonstrated apprension techniques in a combat scenario. The Browns observed from a rooftop as the Marines cleared theway into town, entered a building and apprehended their suspect with intensity and proficiency.
The final stop for the Browns was the Naval Hospital, where they heard the personal stories of Marines wounded in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Jerry Rosburg, special teams coordinator for the Browns, said the orientation from the Iraqi Freedom vets was a moving experience.
“My favorite thing was listening to the four Marines who were wounded in action talk about how their primary focus was to get back with their units. That, to me, is an unbelievable concept,” said Rosburg.
“The thing that’s most impressive to me is the dedication to the cause and selflessness of each one of these Marines. If we can instill just a little of that into our football team, that would go a long way,” he said.
Randy Lerner, owner of the team, has had a long-standing appreciation for the Corps, which was reinforced by the visit.
“This experience was all about trying to bring our people out and learn about the Marine ethos as it’s being practiced and trained today, whether at a war fighting base or at Parris Island,” he said, “By showing up, we wanted to express our support and appreciation for the Marines and what they’re doing.”
These honorary “Marines for a Day” took the time to learn about the intangible bond Marines share, how it happens and the difference it makes. A vast concept like this isn’t easy to put into words, but is understood by those who live it, and for a day, the Browns lived the Marine Corps dream.