PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. – Service members stationed at the Presidio of Monterey spend a majority of their time focused on one primary mission – mastering a foreign language. Due to the academic rigor and time commitment to learn a foreign language, opportunities to step outside the classroom and sharpen military skills are rare, but essential to unit cohesion and welfare.

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On the Friday morning before Memorial Day weekend, with comradery, esprit de corps and respect for the men and women who have sacrificed their lives in defense of the nation, the Marine Corps detachment held a squad competition that traversed the hills of the Presidio.

“The squad competition is an opportunity for the junior Marines to practice essential Marine Corps skills in a fun, competitive environment,” Marine Corps Detachment Commander, Lt. Col. Timothy Mayer said. “Each station forces the Marines to think critically and adapt as a team to overcome challenges."

"This event is meant to complement their daily language training and keep them focused on the overall purpose for their studies here at DLI.”

Individual squads were presented with physically and mentally challenging scenarios designed to test leadership and decision-making abilities. The squads were evaluated and ranked based on their performance in team-oriented events including sled drags, close quarters battle drills, detainee handling and rendering of first aid.

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Lance Cpl. Benjamin Snell, a Korean language student and squad leader of the winning squad, said he watched the teamwork improve throughout the competition as 3rd squad, 3rd platoon, moved from station to station.

“I didn’t have any expectations to win the event coming in, but as the event went on I saw our squad working really well together. Everyone did a great job, but Pfc. Davis and Pfc. Pettyjohn really stood out as the top performers, especially in the sled drag event,” Snell said.

“It was a great event that really allowed us to focus on being Marines.”

The Marine Corps detachment squad competition represented another encouraging sign of a return to normal on the Presidio, bringing the Marines out of their classrooms and barracks rooms to compete with one another in sharpening their basic Marine Corps warfighting skills.

3rd squad, 3rd platoon was awarded first place in the competition by the detachment commander, Lt. Col. Mayer and will hold bragging rights until the next squad competition takes place.

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After the trophy presentation, Mayer encouraged the Marines to enjoy Memorial Day weekend but to remember why we celebrate it with a quote from President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

“Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.”