MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. --
ABOARD THE USS ENTERPRISE – Whether training at home, in the sands of Iraq or even in the tight, cramped spaces of a Navy aircraft carrier, Marines are constantly sharpening their skills.
Currently, eight Marines of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251, and one USS Enterprise sailor are practicing their Marine Corps Martial Arts Program techniques in the musty spaces of the ship two hours everyday.
“Just because Marines are deployed, doesn’t mean training stops,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Young, maintenance control Marine. “It’s great to be able to take advantage of our time to incorporate (MCMAP) training.”
The training was brought on by one Marine’s simple observation and dedication to training.
“I was looking around the squadron and noticed that most of the Marines were just tan belts,” said Gunnery Sgt. Hayden Vesprey, a quality assurance Marine and a black belt in MCMAP. “This sustainment training keeps the Marines motivated and is a great way for us to stay in shape.”
Although there is currently not an instructor aboard the ship, the hours the Marines and sailor spend training will help them better understand the techniques when they have the opportunity to test into higher belt levels.
“My goal is for the Marines to be able to go back to Beaufort, test out and already know the syllabus,” Vesprey said.
Performing MCMAP training is a great way for the service members to physically train and to be prepared for testing, but training while on the ship has its challenges.
“Being in the rear you have the asset of training on grass or sand, here you’re on light mats placed over steel and no-skid surfaces,” Young said.
“The flight schedule sometimes makes it difficult to find time to train,” Vesprey said. “It can also be challenging to find enough space to maneuver, but it’s important to adapt to your surroundings to overcome any obstacle that may prevent you from training.”
Vesprey decided to open his training up to all service members onboard, but limited the number of students to maintain quality training.
“I only take 10 students at a time,” Vesprey said. “But I will continue to teach throughout the deployment and I hope anyone interested comes to learn.”
One sailor aboard the Big ‘E’ has found a place in the class to continue skills he has learned during past deployments with Marines.
“I love to be able and get out and do martial arts training,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick Lewis, an aviation maintenance administrator for the USS Enterprise. “I already have my tan bet in MCMAP and I am exited to be learning more.”
“I’ve had several sailors ask about the class,” Vesprey said. “I think it’s great that we can come together this way and train – one team, one fight.”
Vesprey plans on continuing to help train Marines and sailors with MCMAP throughout the deployment and plans to offer two sessions each day to meet the training demands, if needed.
“There is nothing better than finishing a workout and seeing everyone motivated,” Vesprey said.