ESCONDIDO, Calif. --
U.S. Marines with 1st Transportation Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, participated in a rock climbing event with Crux Wilderness Therapy to boost unit morale and camaraderie. Crux Wilderness Therapy is a nonprofit organization, providing veterans and their families with sustainable long term strategies for physical and mental health by engaging in outdoor activities.
U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Jon Tenbrock, a company commander with 1st TB, coordinated the experience as a way to push the Marines outside of their comfort zone, challenging them both mentally and physically to push the limits of what they believe they can achieve.
“Rock climbing builds camaraderie because there is an inherent relationship with the climber and the belayer in building trust to support each as one is climbing,” said Tenbrock. “The Marines have the opportunity to see each other in a different light while working in different environments. You get to know people and personalities when they’re in unique scenarios and not just the day to day routine, and ultimately having fun while doing it.”
Luke Stricevic, a guide with Crux Wilderness Therapy, taught Marines the basic fundamentals of rock climbing to include knot tying, equipment and safety rules, and belaying. He explained that during rock climbing, a climber must cross the crux of the climb. The crux is the most difficult point in a climb where the climber must use perseverance and grit to work through it. Passing this crux builds confidence within Marines while also forms stronger bonds of trust with their belay partners as Cpl. Kevin Hernandez, a motor transport operator with 1st TB, found out.
“You have to trust your belay partner that they have the tightness of the rope, applying the proper techniques and to make sure that even though you’re not verbally communicating that their attention is on you,” said Hernandez. “Even though you are climbing alone, you are also doing it with your partner because your life is in their hands.”
Rock climbing presented a break from a demanding work schedule while also allowing Marines to get to know one another in a different environment that requires the building of trust and confidence in their peers’ abilities. While fun and lighthearted the results of extracurricular activities can have a big part in the success and morale of units. As General David H. Berger, 38th Commandant of the Marine Corps, stated, “The physical, mental, social and spiritual domains of fitness build and maintain the toughness and resiliency necessary to adapt to, overcome, and recover every situation Marines and Sailors face in their careers.”
“Thanks to the guide and our commanding officer for this opportunity to come out here and get outside our comfort zone to push ourselves and do things we never thought we would do before,” said Cpl. Zyaire McLucas, a motor transport operator with 1st TB. “I think every Marine should try rock climbing because it’s fun, physically demanding, and there’s a lot of concentration that goes into it. The more outdoor activities Marines do, the more prepared they are for any type of terrain that they come across and overall knowledge they can obtain.”