Artillerymen engage hand-to-hand

29 Mar 2006 | Cpl. Ruben D. Maestre

Artillerymen aboard Camp Lejeune, accustomed to the rumble of massive howitzers in action, have been engaged with another type of “rumble” lately. Practicing martial arts skills from the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, Marines learn hand-to-hand combat and then put those skills to action as they grapple or “rumble,” with their fellow Marines.

“This training helps increase your focus and discipline,” said Cpl. Eric C. Alt, 20, of Syracuse, N.Y., radio operator, Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, during a break from MCMAP. “I think it’s good training to bring out to Iraq.”

Grunts, grimaces and occasional smiles abound as Marines with grass clippings on their backs hone their martial arts skills in hopes of qualifying for the green belt. The green belt is the third level of MCMAP proficiency before the brown belt and the expert-level black belt.

Training for the green belt uses moves from the introductory tan and gray belt levels and prepares Marines for higher levels of the program.

“Some of us didn’t even remember some of our tan belt moves,” said Lance Cpl. Ethan D. Dyson, 20, of Bend, Ore., and a cannoneer with Alpha 1/10.

Cannoneers and radio operators received instruction from, Capt. Robert B. Thomas, a black belt instructor from 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, II Marine Expeditionary Force, who carefully followed the MCMAP manual, to ensure safe and effective training of the Marines. On this day of training, Thomas showed various defensive moves from both a standing and laying position—moves that can help them fend off those who choose to fight Marines hand-to-hand.

“Everything we learn in Marine Corps Martial Arts is for a reason,” said Lance Cpl. Chris S. Landis, 24, of Middletown, Ohio, and cannoneer with Alpha 1/10. “It’s taught to help better protect ourselves and others in harms way.”

For Marines accustomed to engaging the enemy with long range artillery guns, MCMAP made for a break from their usual training.

“It’s awesome,” said Landis of MCMAP. “It’s a really good program by giving us an opportunity to get more training in martial arts.”

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