Photo Information First Lt. Stephen Black, operations officer, Headquarters Detachment, Combat Logistics Battalion 15, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, works out on a stationary bike inside one of three fitness rooms aboard the USS Rushmore, Aug. 18. Marines from the MEU exercise regularly during the unit's final training evolution, Certification Exercise. CERTEX differs from previous exercises because Marines and Sailors react to unknown scenarios using the Marine Corps' Rapid Response Planning Process. Photo by Lance Cpl. Timothy Childers Download Details Share Marines make fitness a priority at sea 19 Aug 2012 | Lance Cpl. Timothy Childers PRINT SHARE 08/19/2012 -- USS RUSHMORE - Being confined to small spaces for weeks at a time can create a sedentary lifestyle for Marines and sailors at-sea. To combat this, most Navy vessels are equipped with fitness centers that allow servicemembers to stay in shape. Aboard the USS Rushmore, Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit take advantage of three fitness rooms and exercise regularly during the unit’s final pre-deployment training evolution, Certification Exercise. CERTEX differs from previous exercises because Marines and Sailors react to unknown scenarios using the Marine Corps’ Rapid Response Planning Process. This added stressor does not stop the Marines and sailors from taking care of their physical health though. “Marines go to the gym to stay proactive [about physical fitness],” said Cpl. Omar Vegamendoza, motor transport chief, Battery B, Battalion Landing Team 3/5, 15th MEU. “If the ship didn’t have a gym, it would lower the morale. Marines need to stay in shape.” The fitness rooms are spread throughout the ship, with two rooms dedicated to cardio equipment, including ellipticals, treadmills, stationary bicycles and rowing machines. The third room is strictly for weightlifting, including free-weights and machines. “They offer the basics, just what you need to get and stay in shape,” added Vegamendoza, the 20-year-old Moses Lake, Wash., native. Many of the Marines visit the rooms on a regular basis, whether to train as a unit or on their own. “My team goes to the gym every morning,” said Lance Cpl. James T. Hastings, scout observer, Fire Control Team 32, Command Element, 15th MEU. “We are Marines, we’re supposed to be in shape. I like having the ability to work out on ship. I always feel better after a workout,” added the 21-year-old Troy, Mo. native. The 15th MEU is embarked as part of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group, which includes the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47).