MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY --
Simulating conditions and maneuvers they may face in hostile combat territories, Marines at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany recently competed to test their endurance and agility in combat fitness test here.
Lance corporals vying for the sole meritorious corporal’s title joined fellow Marines in the CFT challenge, a semi-annual fitness durability requirement.
True to the Marine Corps’ mandatory drill readiness, the candidates and fellow senior Marines reported before the crack of dawn at the starting line for their half-mile run and the other obstacles associated with this process.
According to Sgt. Daryl Stockton, assistant operations training chief, Base Operations, MCLB Albany, the purpose of the combat fitness test is to basically keep Marines prepared, both physically and mentally — keeping them aware of some of the obstacles in combat.
“Every Marine is required to (complete a CFT) once a year,” Stockton said. “The low-crawl, the buddy-carry, the grenade throw and the half-mile, 880-meter sprint are all part of the mandatory CFT requirement.”
Maneuver-under-fire is another simulation within the CFT drills. From the prone position, Marines awaited the countdown from a fellow-Marine monitor, then sprinted for 25-yards, low crawled, high crawled, zig-zagged, dragged, picked up his buddy, in what Stockton phrased as “a fireman’s carry,” and transported him to safety.
“The main focus of the fireman’s carry is you never know whether or not you or your buddy may get injured (while in a combat situation),” Stockton added. “For example, if you’re under fire, you may have to low-crawl under something or behind a barrier or run zig-zag (to escape). You may also have to drag (your buddy out) and firemen-carry him out of harm’s way.”
Other requirements of the CFT are an ammunition-can lift, a timed activity, which determines the maximum number of the 30-pound can lifts a Marine can acquire in a two-minute period as well as a grenade throw, a maneuver to practice throwing a grenade accurately into a simulated window.
Platoon formation drills were led by each one of the candidates for the meritorious corporal’s promotion to assist in building their confidence for the rank for which they were competing.
“The purpose of the drill is basically all about the unit leader,” Stockton continued. “It is to instill confidence into each unit leader so that when (he or she does) pick up the rank of corporal, and stand in front of a formation of junior Marines, (he or she has) the confidence to lead the platoon from point-to-point.”
The final requirement for the meritorious promotion candidates was a uniform inspection. On the steps of Coffman Hall, Building 3500, each of the lance corporals stood at attention, in front of a senior Marine staff sergeant and endured a rigorous series of Marine history questions as well as an intense uniform inspection.
“Marines always want to look their best; the uniform inspection helps to prepare them for when they stand in front of junior Marines,” according to Stockton. “They are an example of the Marine Corps’ (dress standards and are squared away).”
At the end of the day, senior leadership at MCLB Albany, according to Stockton, the base sergeant major, company gunnery sergeant, company first sergeant, usually all of the master sergeants from different sections met to interview and determine whom the newest Marine corporal at MCLB Albany would be.
After CFT scores, candidates’ interviews and the promotion board’s deliberations were completed, Lance Cpl. Kyle Phelps acquired the promotion and title of corporal.
Stockton commented on his depiction and interaction with MCLB Albany’s newly-selected corporal.
“What I’ve noticed about Lance Corporal Phelps since he first arrived here is his maturity, his confidence, his work ethics,” Stockton said. “I deal with him usually on a weekly basis, and every time I go to him, he’s just an (all-around) outstanding Marine. He (consistently) sets himself above and beyond his peers. He definitely deserves it.”
According to Sgt. Maj. Conrad E. Potts, sergeant major, MCLB Albany, all of the Marines who competed for the corporal’s meritorious promotion board were highly qualified and prepared.
“The panel’s decision was based on each of the competing Marines’ overall CFT scores, their performance in leading their squad in the drills, their uniform inspections, as well as their ability to respond before the panel,” the base sergeant major said.
“Lance Corporal Phelps did great in the overall competition, as did the other lance corporals vying for the promotion,” Potts added. “However, when everything was tallied, Lance Corporal Phelps led his fellow Marines who were vying for the promotion.”
In the presence of his peers and senior leadership at MCLB Albany, Phelps was officially promoted on Tuesday in front of Coffman Hall, Building 3500.
Phelps commented on his excitement for the nomination, his motivation and a chance to become a better Marine.
“(When) I found out I was being nominated for the board, I was thrilled and excited, especially knowing I would be competing against two of my friends and fellow Marines,” Phelps said.
He continued, “I’m a very competitive person, and knowing that this board was going to be a tough competition motivated me to prepare and study to the best of my abilities.”
“I joined the Marine Corps to be part of a team, learn how to lead and become a leader that is respected and looked up to,” Phelps continued. “I knew that winning this board would be the next step for me to do so, and was a major source of motivation for me. I plan to continue working hard and striving to better myself as a person, Marine and leader.”