15th MEU News
Photo Information

Sergeant Andy Alonso, landing support chief, Landing Support Section, Transportation Support Detachment, Combat Logistics Battalion 15, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, demonstrates a choke hold on Cpl. Courtland Lambert, a landing support specialist with the unit, while instructing Marines in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program on the flight deck of the USS Rushmore, Aug. 16. The 15th MEU is embarked as part of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group during Certification Exercise, their final training before their deployment this fall. Alonso, 25, is from New York City and Lambert, 25, is from Clarksville, Tenn.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Timothy Childers

Martial arts instructors dedicate themselves to teaching next generation

18 Aug 2012 | LCpl. Timothy Childers 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

USS RUSHMORE - When Marines are not working to accomplish the mission at sea, some spend their free time advancing through the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. Other Marines take it upon themselves to help their brothers and sisters in arms by becoming MCMAP instructors who are dedicated to teaching the warrior ethos.

Sergeant Nathaniel McDonald, a motor transportation specialist, and Sgt. Andy Alonso, the landing support chief, both with Transportation Support Detachment, Combat Logistics Battalion 15, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, began instructing Marines and advancing them through the levels of MCMAP during their time aboard the USS Rushmore.

“I always wanted the chance to do MCMAP as a junior Marine,” said Alonso, who is 25. “So I wanted to give my Marines that chance and be able to instruct them myself. I do it for the Marines,” added the 25-year-old native of New York.

When the two Marines first met they had a lot in common, including their hometown of New York City. However, what really brought them together was the passionate MCMAP instructors they had as young Marines.

“My instructor was always hard on me and made sure I learned the techniques correctly,” added Alonso. “I looked up to him, and I wanted to take what I learned from him to teach my Marines.”

As young leaders, Alonso and McDonald felt it was their obligation to train leathernecks in a subject important for all Marines.

“We have to instruct these Marines,” said McDonald. “A lot of Marines like doing this and there’s always the need for an instructor, but the passion has to be there,” added the 28-year-old native of New York.

In addition to teaching the Marines the moves and proper technique, instructors incorporate physical training and mentoring during the daily instruction.

“MCMAP is important not only because it physically prepares you for combat, the mentoring we give develops the Marines’ character and mental toughness,” said Alonso.

Among the many reasons they chose to teach and advance in MCMAP, its relevance to combat and the possibility that it could save a life are the most important.

“If Marines are stuck in a situation where they need to use hand-to-hand combat they’ll know what to do now,” said Lance Cpl. Raphael A. Ibarra, a student in the course, and a motor transportation specialist with the unit. “Marines need to know more than just how to use their rifle.”

The 15th MEU is embarked on the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group, which consists of the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47). The unit is conducting its last training exercise before deploying later this year.

15th Marine Expeditionary Unit