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An intense unit exercise aboard the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS America on the morning of March 14th served as extra than simply the common bodily coaching session for the Marines of Battalion Touchdown Staff, 1st Battalion, fifth Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. The exercise, known as a ‘Murph,’ afforded the Marines the chance to honor their fallen brothers and sisters – on this case, particularly in reminiscence of two just lately deceased Marine Corps Particular Operations Command Marine Raiders, Gunnery Sgt. Diego

Pongo and Capt. Moises Navas.

Pongo, who served as a sniper crew chief with 1st Battalion, fifth Marine Regiment on deployment to Afghanistan in 2004, joined the Corps in 2004 as a rifleman earlier than incomes the title of Marine Raider in 2011. Navas additionally enlisted in 2004, reaching the rank of sergeant earlier than commissioning via the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Schooling Program. After rigorous coaching, Navas was chosen to develop into a Marine Raider in 2016, and spent the final 4 years as a crew commander and firm govt officer in 2nd Marine Particular Operations Battalion.

 “Nothing is concerning the particular person. I wished my Marines and Sailors to know {that a} blow to one in all us is a blow to all of us.” Employees Sgt. Michael Staten, platoon sergeant with 1/5

The 2 Marine Raiders died on March eighth, 2020 after being mortally wounded by enemy small-arms hearth throughout a mission to eradicate an Islamic State stronghold in Ninewah Province, Iraq. Their valiant sacrifice in fight impressed the BLT Marines to dedicate their morning a number of days later to finishing the problem of their honor.

For Employees Sgt. Michael Staten, the problem had an added significance. Staten, a platoon sergeant with 1/5, beforehand served at 2nd Marine Raider Battalion and personally knew each Marines.

“The whole Raider group is inspiring,” Staten mentioned. “Capt. Navas and Gunnery Sgt. Pongo had been no exception. Raiders do management proper.”

The problem, which is called after Lt. Michael Murphy, a Navy SEAL who gave the final word sacrifice throughout a mission in Afghanistan, required the Marines to run a mile, adopted by 100 pullups, 200 pushups, and 300 squats, previous to working a closing mile to complete the exercise.


Picture by Lance Cpl. Kolby Leger

The Marines who accomplished the Murph problem pushed their our bodies to the restrict, carrying plate carriers with back and front ballistic plates to simulate the burden service members would have on their shoulders in fight.

“The least we may do for them is spill just a little sweat for those who spilled all of their blood for us.” Staten mentioned.

As a pacesetter, Staten feels that Marines and Sailors have to know that what they do is rather more than a typical 9 to five.

“We’re a household, a brotherhood of warriors,” Staten mentioned. “Nothing is concerning the particular person. I wished my Marines and Sailors to know {that a} blow to one in all us is a blow to all of us.”

America, flagship of the America Expeditionary Strike Group, 31st MEU crew, is working within the U.S. seventh Fleet space of operations to reinforce interoperability with allies and companions and function a prepared response pressure to defend peace and stability within the Indo-Pacific area.

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