Story by Cpl Timothy Valero on 08/17/2016
Marines and sailors of Company C, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment put their close quarter training on hold to recognize the champions of 1st Marine Division's Super Squad Competition aboard Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., Aug. 15, 2016.
The Super Squad Competition is a three day non-stop event that pins squads from 1st Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Regiment, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion and 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion against one another. The competition took place aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton during July 12-16, 2016.
The competitors faced numerous tasks and challenges throughout the competition. Over the course of 48 hours, the Marines were tested on their knowledge about various infantry topics, had their gear inspected, and ran the Marine Corps Combat Fitness Test.
Two marksmanship competitions were conducted - one to evaluate the proficiency of the two best marksmen from each squad and another to assess the overall skill of all the members in a squad.
"The hardest part for me was just overcoming the mental exhaustion and digging deep to push through everything," said Lance Cpl. Chance Goff a team leader with Company C, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.
Unfamiliar mountainous terrain and weather challenged the Marines representing Company C who typically train in the flat, desert training areas of Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California.
"We train in Twentynine Palms and brag about how we train in the heat all the time, but going to Camp Pendleton with the hills was kind of a gut check for us," said Sgt. Derrick Higgs, a squad leader with Company C, 1st Battalion 7th Marine Regiment.
After pushing through mental and physical exhaustion, the squad representing Company C came together to overcome the challenges and bring the Mitchell Cup back to 7th Marine Regiment for a second year in a row.
"Knowing that a squad from our company won it last year was a big motivating factor for us going into this year's competition," said Higgs. "We had to represent Charlie Company and bring the Mitchell Cup back."
After nearly one month, Company C fell into formation to watch the victorious squad receive their engraved Super Squad Badges from Maj. Gen. Daniel O'Donohue, the 1st Marine Division commanding general.
O'Donohue took time to speak with the Marines of Company C following the squad's pinning. He reflected on the company's unique history from Guadalcanal to modern day Operation Inherant Resolve and the company's authorized second guidon. The second guidon first flew following a major offensive against Company C in Guadalcanal.
The triumphant squad added a new chapter to the rich history of the 7th Marine Regiment.
"We will be able to meet up 30 years down the road and talk about the competition and how miserable we were, but in the end, being able to hold that Mitchell Cup," said Higgs.