Marines talk the talk and walk the walk
Marines are always making sure they're combat ready and one way they do that is to take hikes with heavy equipment. They build up a tolerance from 3 miles all the way up to 15 miles, a full lap around the Marine Corps Logistics Base.
Captain John Scholl says the event is a full body endurance challenge, but they don't hike for fun. "The first purpose first and foremost is to develop combat conditioning, and a sense of warrior ethos or combat spirit. The second reason why we do these hikes is specifically to train the MCO's to coordinate and plan these events" says Scholl.
All marines have to hike with a backpack that is at least 40 pounds. Sergeant Shavonda Williams says as much as the hike trains them physically, it's also mental. "Mentally its hard, cause once you think, every stop is every three miles. Three miles from twelve, okay I still have plenty more miles to go" says Williams.
Marines take regular stops in order to endure the 15 mile hike. During the breaks they hydrate, re-energize, and change their socks, which they say is important since their boots aren't made of breathable material. "It's very important, everyone has their own techniques - some use tape, others use moleskin, some wear multiple pairs of socks" says Scholl.
As much as they appreciate the breaks - the hike is still no walk in the park. "As bad as you don't want to put the pack back on, since you've already walked with it - when you take it off you're giving your body a chance to get itself back together. Once you put it back on you're a little stronger, just like if you lift weights. It gets a little easier every time you pick the weights back up" says Williams.