By by Lance Cpl. Lukas Kalinauskas, Marine Corps Installations West
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif -- Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, hosted a spiritual fitness fair October 5, 2017. The event intended to enhance battalion character and build espirit de corps while showing Marines different perspectives and providing professional resources that aid in spiritual, emotional and mental health, and concluded with a concert featuring the Grammy award-winning band Switchfoot.
“Understanding the framework and different belief systems out there enhances a Marine’s ability to become a better leader,” said Col. John R. Polidoro Jr., commanding officer for the battalion. “You have to be able to accept and understand different perspectives in order to work with and lead other Marines.”
More than 100 organizations supported the event, along with guest speakers Amy Clover, Dr. Mary Rotert, and Chad Robichaux, a former force recon Marine and mixed martial arts champion.
“Ever since 9/11 happened we’ve been at war, the Marine Corps looks at combat and resiliency differently now,” said Robichaux. “We have General Neller and Sergeant Major Green now and they really understand what Marines need to be prepared.”
With free food, classes and a concert Marines who attended the event had a busy afternoon.
“I don’t get to go to these events often,” said SSgt. Wesley Alexander, a training support Marine with the unit. “Overall it’s a great experience and it’s important to let Marines let their hair down every once in a while, it builds camaraderie,” highlighting the importance of the event as a personal development opportunity. “You can never stop learning,” said Alexander. “The first class I went to talked about how to make the most out of living a single life and it helped me come up with some goals for myself.”
Polidoro for his part emphasized the long term importance of the skills he hoped the Marines took away.
“I’ve had several combat deployments into Iraq and Afghanistan and I’ve seen many Marines faced with adversity before,” said Polidoro. “Those that seem to recover quicker and bounce back more resilient understand their greater purpose.”