USS ANCHORAGE, At Sea (NNS) -- Marines from 7th Engineer Support Battalion aboard amphibious platform dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23) make sea time into a unique training environment with the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP), Aug. 3.
MCMAP's purpose is to ready Marines, and Sailors attached to Marine units, in hand-to-hand combat, edged weapons, and other close quarter combat styles. The program instills morale and team-building lessons and further instructing in the Warrior Ethos. MCMAP's logo is "One Mind, Any Weapon."
Eleven Marines from Camp Pendleton, California and one Sailor participated in the class held on board.
Marine Sgt. Robert Portell, a MCMAP instructor with the 7th Engineer Support Battalion and Black Belt 2nd Degree, said that the ship was completely different from the normal settings his Marines are use to when taking the class.
"I think it was a little challenging with the ship moving left to right," Portell said. "They can work on their balance; it's different to kick in a normal environment than when something is moving."
The program hosts a five-level system, which are separated in different colors of belts, similar to other martial arts studies. Marines start MCMAP at their basic training and cannot graduate until earning their tan belt. From there, it goes on to gray, green, brown, and black. Black is the highest level, with three different degrees.
Marine Cpl. Carlton Roach, from Northbridge, Massachusetts, is currently wearing a gray belt, but has plans for wearing a black belt and instructing future Marines in MCMAP. He said it's important to know how to fight with your hands.
"The most important part of taking MCMAP is to know how to use your hands if you're in combat and you run out of ammo and it's close quarters combat, and you need everything under your belt to win the fight."
Marines are stationed in a wide variety of locations, and don't always know when combat will happen. Marine 2nd Lt. Tyler Sweet, executive officer of 7th Engineer Support Battalion, said that Marines plan to always be ready. You're never going to know when you're going to have to use MCMAP and what situation it's going to be in. Marines are Marines, they're going to adapt and overcome to any situation, so it doesn't hurt to throw a curveball in every once and awhile."
The 7th Engineer Support Battalion provided 76 Marines to accompany the Anchorage as they visit Los Angeles on a scheduled port visit during an event know as the city's Navy days. They will be displaying static displays onboard during tours showing Marine capabilities of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Anchorage was built at the Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding site in Avondale, Louisiana and is the seventh San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship. Delivered to the U.S. Navy on Sept. 17, 2012, the ship was commissioned on May 4, 2013 in the namesake city of Anchorage, Alaska.