CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq -- The day was full of friendly competition when service members here were given a break from their high operational tempo.
Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group (FWD), participated in a series of organized physical fitness events called “Fun Day.”
“We wanted to have time for the Marines to let their hair down a little bit , still keep their focus, and just have a good time,” said Sgt. Maj. Shelley D. Sergeant, sergeant major of CLB-5.
She added that even though the battalion is in a combat zone, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t want to continue to build unit cohesion.
The battalion’s mission is to provide combat service support to the ground fighters of Regimental Combat Team 5, 1st Marine Division, to include delivering supplies such as food, fuel and equipment, in addition to ensuring that medical care is readily available.
The event provided a well deserved break for the service members, allowing senior leadership to reward them for their continued success during this deployment, said Sergeant.
The “Fun Day” was a series of events held from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., which started with a soccer tournament and ended with a talent show. Laughter filled the air along with some sweat and tears.
“It has been a nice break from a normal operational tempo,” said 1st Lt. Michael S. Linebach, a Kansas City, Mo., native, during the morning soccer tournament. “It gives Marines a chance to come out and play a few games.”
Linebach is a 25-year-old platoon commander for Combat Logistics Company 115, CLB-5.
The events featured were soccer, flag football, basketball, dodgeball, a tire flip, a humvee pull and the traditional tug-o-war. It was put together as a competition between the eight companies that make up CLB-5.
“I took it as not just about winning, but mainly to boost the Marines morale and work ethic as we head toward the end of this deployment,” said Lance Cpl. Fernando L. Figueroa, a 21-year-old Miami native serving as a motor vehicle driver with CLB-5. “We also get to know a little more about each other as a unit and as people.”
Water, sports drinks, sun block and medical personnel were on hand to counteract the high temperatures here, regularly well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some of the Marines and sailors from the battalion were not able to attend because of ongoing missions taking place in the Al Anbar province; and although they were not in attendance, they were at the front of everyone’s mind.
“We have Marines going on missions all the time, but we (tried) to work around it,” said Sergeant, a native of Bronx, N.Y. “If we could (have gotten) all of the Marines in the battalion (there), we would (have).”
The Marines of CLB-5 work vigorously, transporting supplies in and around the Al Anbar area of operations also providing medical support and the continuous equipment upkeep, but at the day’s end, the unique exercise proved worth while.
“Although it was good work out lifting a tire, I still feel that it (was) a good time to relieve myself from work for a day,” said Lance Cpl. Jose Lopez, a 26 years old Bronx, N.Y., native.
The “Fun Day” was used to strengthen camaraderie within the unit and sustain the Marines’ strong work ethic through the end of the battalion’s deployment.
“A one-day breather, whether your sitting watching a movie, hanging out at the chow hall or even out participating in a little competition, is always good,” said 1st Lt. Autumn D. Swinford, a 24-year-old motor transport platoon commander from CLC-115.
The native of Fredericktown, Mo., explained that the Marines are going to be heading home soon; the “Fun Day” was a way for some of them to say their good byes in a competitive way.
She added that military families were able to relax as well, knowing the fact that their Marine or sailor’s only mission for the day was to compete and have fun.
The Marines grew tired from the heat and the exercise, but the fun they had outweighed their fatigue. The sun had set; the physical activity wound down while the day slowly came to a close as the battalion prepared to continue combat operations the next day.
“Although that we were able to kick back and have fun, we still were able to focus on the mission we were handed,” added Sergeant.