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H&S Marines seek to gain resiliency through camaraderie

By by Lance Cpl. Lukas Kalinauskas, Marine Corps Installations West

The Spiritual Fitness Fair was organized to promote spiritual and mental wellness with the end state being a safe, well attended event that enhances the morale and esprit de corps of the battalion.
H&S Marines seek to gain resiliency through camaraderie
Col. John R. Polidoro, Commanding Officer, Headquarters and Support Battalion, addresses Camp Pendleton Marines, Sailors, and families before a concert by Switchfoot at the Spiritual Fitness Fair at Camp Pendleton’s Paige Fieldhouse, Oct. 5, 2017. The Spiritual Fitness Fair was organized to promote spiritual and mental wellness with the end state being a safe, well attended event that enhances the morale and esprit de corps of the battalion.
The Spiritual Fitness Fair was organized to promote spiritual and mental wellness with the end state being a safe, well attended event that enhances the morale and esprit de corps of the battalion.
H&S Marines seek to gain resiliency through camaraderie
Camp Pendleton Marines, Sailors and their families listen to a concert by Switchfoot at the Spiritual Fitness Fair at Camp Pendleton’s Paige Fieldhouse, Oct. 5, 2017. The Spiritual Fitness Fair was organized to promote spiritual and mental wellness with the end state being a safe, well attended event that enhances the morale and esprit de corps of the battalion.
The Spiritual Fitness Fair was organized to promote spiritual and mental wellness with the end state being a safe, well attended event that enhances the morale and esprit de corps of the battalion.
H&S Marines seek to gain resiliency through camaraderie
Chad Robichaux a former Force Recon Marine, Pro MMA Champion, and founder of Mighty Oaks Foundation speaks to Headquarters and Support Battalion Marines about overcoming personal struggles after leaving the Marine Corps during the Spiritual Fitness Fair at Camp Pendleton’s Paige Fieldhouse, Oc.t 5, 2017. The Spiritual Fitness Fair was organized to promote spiritual and mental wellness with the end state being a safe, well attended event that enhances the morale and esprit de corps of the battalion. (Official Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Hector de Jesus)
The Spiritual Fitness Fair was organized to promote spiritual and mental wellness with the end state being a safe, well attended event that enhances the morale and esprit de corps of the battalion.
H&S Marines seek to gain resiliency through camaraderie
Switchfoot performs for Camp Pendleton Marines, Sailors and their families during the Spiritual Fitness Fair at the Paige Fieldhouse, Oct. 5, 2017. The Spiritual Fitness Fair was organized to promote spiritual and mental wellness with the end state being a safe, well attended event that enhances the morale and esprit de corps of the battalion. (Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Anabel Abreu Rodriguez)
The Spiritual Fitness Fair was organized to promote spiritual and mental wellness with the end state being a safe, well attended event that enhances the morale and esprit de corps of the battalion.
H&S Marines seek to gain resiliency through camaraderie
Local volunteers serve Headquarters and Support Battalion Marines, Sailors and their families food during the Spiritual Fitness Fair at Camp Pendleton’s Paige Fieldhouse, Oct. 5, 2017. The Spiritual Fitness Fair was organized to promote spiritual and mental wellness with the end state being a safe, well attended event that enhances the morale and esprit de corps of the battalion. (Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Anabel Abreu Rodriguez)

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.”