ABOARD USS GUNSTON HALL --
For Marines and sailors aboard USS Gunston Hall, there is no place to work out like the ever-undulating flight deck. The sprawling non-skid surface provides a ready escape from the cramped interior of the amphibious transport ship.
Tuesday, in a spirit of mutual motivation and inter-service competition, six Combat Logistics Battalion 22 Marines tried something new and gave their Navy chief and chief-select shipmates a heaping helping of Marine Corps physical training.
"They said they were lacking motivation, so we gave them some of ours,"said Sgt. Mariana E. Madrid. "It was a different experience than we're used to, because we're used to (Physically Training) with other Marines. This time, we had to instruct them on the exercises, and we had to be extra encouraging and motivating at the same time."
Battalion Sergeant Major 1st Sgt. Steven L. Lunsford, started out the morning with warm ups, said Madrid, and when he continued at a cheetah's pace it put a big smile on all the Marines'faces.
"It was definitely a challenge,"said landing support specialist Sgt. Richard E. Kohn after the workout. "I won't lie, I'm hurtin' a little."
The four loud and motivated Non-Commissioned Officers, led by Lunsford and Master Sgt. Stephen W. Heal, took turns leading exercises and squad-column runs, and for dessert, served up a grueling set of lunges.
"It was a good time,"said Sgt. Hughey A. Donald, a Petersburg, Va., native. "We were screaming 'Marine Corps' every time one of us would take the lead. It was motivating to hear the sailors come back hard with a 'Navy chief!' It showed they have just as much pride in their service and motivated us even more."
Chief Petty Officer Jeffrey D. Simpkins, the CLB-22 chief hospital corpsman, believed that the fresh perspective on PT was beneficial for the chief-selects, because it showed that the Marines were supporting them through a tough transition period from petty officer to chief petty officer.
"It showed them how the Marines have motivation from top to bottom,"said Simpkins. "From the colonel to the private, everybody's motivated. I'm with the Marines all the time so I'm used to this, but it was good to give the Navy some motivation and new exercises."
For a grand finale, Lunsford ordered all participants into an exercise that proved to be the favorite of many participants -- a set of group pushups, where each participant would have to rely on his fellow servicemember just to get off the ground.
"It looked like a woven blanket of bodies,"said chief-select, Petty Officer 1st Class Nicole R. Lozano, the career counselor aboard the Gunston Hall. "They were very motivated, and they can definitely show us a thing or two about PT."
The morning ended with a cool-down, and a final exchange of smiles and sweaty high-fives.
"It was a pretty cool experience,"said Madrid, a Pacoima, Calif., native. "If they ask us to do it again, I'm sure we're up for it."