• PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Champions selected from each company of the Marine Corps Detachment Presidio of Monterey battle with the pugil sticks during a Field Meet competition Jan 13. The pugil sticks were one of eight events that Marines competed in during the training day held prior to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

    Marines get lessons in inequality during Field Meet

    PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Champions selected from each company of the Marine Corps Detachment Presidio of Monterey battle with the pugil sticks during a Field Meet competition Jan 13. The pugil sticks were one of eight events that Marines competed...

  • PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - A female Marine performs dead-hang pull ups during the team-oriented Field Meet competition, an exercise normally used by the Marine Corps for males-only during competition and physical testing.

    Marines get lessons in inequality during Field Meet

    PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - A female Marine performs dead-hang pull ups during the team-oriented Field Meet competition, an exercise normally used by the Marine Corps for males-only during competition and physical testing.

  • PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Even when they are "goofing-off" Marines seem to find a way to get some exercise. Marines re-locate between events during the Jan. 13 Field Meet competition.

    Marines get lessons in inequality during Field Meet

    PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Even when they are "goofing-off" Marines seem to find a way to get some exercise. Marines re-locate between events during the Jan. 13 Field Meet competition.

  • PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - A Marine from the Marine Corps Detachment Presidio of Monterey crosses the finish line during the relay race portion of a Field Meet competition. Running lanes were made different lengths for each team to teach them about inequality prior to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

    Marines get lessons in inequality during Field Meet

    PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - A Marine from the Marine Corps Detachment Presidio of Monterey crosses the finish line during the relay race portion of a Field Meet competition. Running lanes were made different lengths for each team to teach them about...

  • PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Marines cheer on their company during a Field Meet competition held at Soldier Field on Jan. 13.

    Marines get lessons in inequality during Field Meet

    PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Marines cheer on their company during a Field Meet competition held at Soldier Field on Jan. 13.

  • PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Tire flipping was one of eight events during the Marine's Field Meet competition on Jan. 13. Tires of different size and weight were given to each team without their knowledge to teach them a lesson about inequality prior to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

    Marines get lessons in inequality during Field Meet

    PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Tire flipping was one of eight events during the Marine's Field Meet competition on Jan. 13. Tires of different size and weight were given to each team without their knowledge to teach them a lesson about inequality prior...

  • PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Marines compete in a tug-of-war event on Soldier Field during the Field Meet competition. Like most of the events, the tug-of-war competition was rigged to favor one team and demonstrate the difficulties of overcoming disadvantage.

    Marines get lessons in inequality during Field Meet

    PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Marines compete in a tug-of-war event on Soldier Field during the Field Meet competition. Like most of the events, the tug-of-war competition was rigged to favor one team and demonstrate the difficulties of overcoming...

  • PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Marine Corps Detachment Presidio of Monterey Commander Lt. Col. Edward R. Sullivan addresses his Marines after the Jan. 13 Field Meet competition to talk about inequality and the meaning of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

    Marines get lessons in inequality during Field Meet

    PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Marine Corps Detachment Presidio of Monterey Commander Lt. Col. Edward R. Sullivan addresses his Marines after the Jan. 13 Field Meet competition to talk about inequality and the meaning of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Prior to Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, Marines from the Marine Corps Detachment Presidio of Monterey held a formation run and Field Meet competition that turned out to be a bit more than it first appeared.

On the Presidio's historic Soldier Field the morning of Jan. 13, hidden within the physical challenges and friendly competition, was a practical lesson for the Marines on inequality.

Unknowingly, the Field Meet events the Marines were competing in were rigged. Ammo cans had been given different weights during a lifting competition, and different length running lanes were used in the relay race. A tug-of-war competition was held with a rope knotted only on one team's side to provide extra grip.

In all, the Marines competed in seven team events and concluded with each company selecting a representative to demonstrate their hand-to-hand combat skills with the pugil sticks, the latter being the only event in which no team was given an unfair advantage.

While many of the Marines eventually caught on to the uneven playing conditions as events progressed, the reasons behind it weren't made clear until after the competition.

Detachment Commander Lt. Col. Edward R. Sullivan gathered his Marines and addressed them with the following question.

"It didn't seem fair when you all had to participate in the same events but you weren't all given the same opportunities did it?" Sullivan asked.

"It made you want to give up sometimes, or grow resentful of the system. While I can say that in every event every company had the ability to win, the reality of it all was that to win at the disadvantage required an extraordinary effort," Sullivan added. "We did this as we enter the weekend holiday in commemoration of Doctor Martin Luther King to remind us of the hurdles different groups in our society have had to overcome in order to compete."

At one point during his address, Sullivan called the Marine Corps the greatest equalizing organization in the country.

"I don't care about your gender, I don't care about your belief system, I don't care about your race, and I don't care who you prefer to sleep with," said Sullivan. "I care about how you accomplish the mission."

In conclusion, before dismissing the Marines, Sullivan asked if they thought the journey of Martin Luther King Jr. was complete.

"I think we can do better than we are right now," Sullivan said. "Take a look around at this formation and ask yourself if we appear representative of the U.S.? Or, of the Marine Corps in general? Take some time over the weekend and think about what the MLK holiday really means. Think about how we can do better to keep the playing field equal."

For more photos of the event, visit http://tiny.cc/qtb52.

Page last updated Thu January 19th, 2012 at 17:57