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15th Marine Expeditionary Unit


15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

America's Vanguard Force

Camp Pendleton, CA
Obstacle course

By Cpl. John Robbart III | | December 9, 2012


CENTRE D’ENTRAINEMENT AU COMBAT ET AGUERISSEEMENT, Djibouti – After an extended period at-sea, Marines and sailors from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit stretched their legs in Djibouti on Dec. 4.

The training, led by instructors from French forces of the French CWTC in Djibouti, involved obstacle courses different from ones Marines and sailors are used to seeing back home. The land and sea courses emphasized teamwork to make it through each obstacle.

“Our mission is to train units of eight to 10 in water and land obstacle courses,” said French Chief Corporal Ludovic Leblond, instructor, CWTC. “As instructors, we love to see the unit cohesion and team work. That is what these courses are all about,” added the native of Paris
The courses are typically for military units from France, but they occasionally train other entities when possible.

“This was a great opportunity for the Marines and sailors to improve their teamwork, small unit leadership, confidence and physical conditioning,” said Gunnery Sgt. Apollo I. Thomas, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense chief, 15th MEU. “The obstacles required those in charge of the obstacles to make sound and timely decisions,” added the 29-year-old native of Leonardtown, Md.

Aside from team-building experiences, this event was a chance for the unit to get some fresh air after more than a month at sea.

“It was really fun and exciting,” said Cpl. Henry E. Cisneros, company clerk, Headquarters and Service Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/5, 15th MEU. “I think everyone walked away from this experience with a sense of accomplishment,” said the 21-year-old native of Palmdale, Calif.

Conducting this training will ultimately help facilitate future training for the Marines who participated by leaving them feeling energized and motivated.

“My Marines will be conducting some internal training soon,” said Thomas. “I personally feel they will get more from it after being in Djibouti and working through the different obstacle courses.”

While the Marines couldn’t agree which obstacle was the most challenging, the majority had the most fun on the zip-line.

“The zip-line was great,” said Cisneros. “It was a good change of pace after some of the harder obstacles.”

The event required Marines to tap into a different kind of strength to successfully complete some of the more challenging obstacles.

“We really had to use our physical and mental courage to complete the courses,” said Cpl. Christopher W. Hibbard, assessment consequence management team member, Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Defense Detachment, 15th MEU. “It definitely improved upon our unit cohesion, which will ultimately make us more successful for further evolutions,” added the 24-year-old native of Mexia, Texas.

The 15th MEU is deployed as part of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group as a U.S. Central Command theater reserve force, providing support for maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.