Military News

Monday, June 22, 2015

All colors fade to mud

by Airman 1st Class Joshua King
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs


6/19/2015 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST-  -- Marines and Airmen are crawling and carrying one another through down pouring rain - with their tan and green uniforms all covered up by mud,  the service members look like the joint fighting force they are.

During a three week Marine Corps Martial Arts Program course Airmen were taught self-defense and close quarter combat skills by their JB MDL neighbors and sister service Marines.

"After the first week we did a combat conditioning where it was complete mud and water," said Marine Gunnery Sgt. Lucio Bernabe, Marine Aircraft Group 49 and MCMAP instructor. "At that point is when they converted over, like 'let's just go for it 100 percent, let's get dirty, let's get into it.' I think from that it started clicking."

MCMAP teaches service members techniques in unarmed, edged weapons, rifle and bayonet combat. It also teaches mental and character development, including responsible use of force and teamwork.

"When I first started I didn't think I could do it," said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Mashia Wong-Holly, 87th Mental Health Clinic medical technician.  "I was in pain, I would go to work limping, but as the days go on we get better at it."

"MCMAP is pretty much a sport where your pain tolerance changes," said Marine Sgt. Teliah Wilson, MAG 49 adjutant and MCMAP instructor. "It's not that you accept more pain but how to tolerate more pain with your inner discipline."

Throughout the three weeks of training, the students developed a bond with their sister service instructors who pushed their students hard.

"The instructors motivated me," said Wong-Holly.  "Some days I didn't want to come but I did. They are very easy to talk to they go step by step. As long as you're open minded and willing to go the extra mile for it. It's a great environment; everyone here is pushing everybody to do better."

Being at a joint base offers a unique opportunity for joint training like this to occur, further enabling the vital interoperability needed when deployed in a joint environment. During deployments all branches of the military live, eat and work together in a joint environment - having the opportunity to train together stateside helps for a seamless transition down range.

"Being able to physically train with other services allows them to see how we react with each other in a combat scenario," said Wilson. "At any time we could be deployed together and for us to train together is exactly what we're supposed to do."

"It's always a very boastful thing (working with other services), you always want to compete, 'Marines are better than the Army, Army is better than the Air Force,' so on and so forth," said Bernarbe.  "But when you deploy, its one team, one fight. That's the one thing I wanted to tell them and send that message - no matter what, we're all working together. We may talk smack a little bit, or dig at each other a little bit, but at the end of the day, we are working together to protect our nation."

After three weeks of tireless training, from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. each morning, the instructors evaluated each student in a test for their tan belt in the MCMAP program.

They all passed.

"The proudest moment is today," said Bernabe. "You can assess them you can see exactly what you taught them and how it's put into play."

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