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High Intensity Tactical Training Charles Yackle pushes Staff Sgt. Christopher Ramsey past the point of comfort in his preliminary trials. As the Marine fends against 90 degree heat during the fireman's carry with a sandbag across all 100-yards of Butler Stadium, his only motivation in reaching the endzone are the squats he will endure with the same weight.

Photo by Jeremy Beale

Embrace the grit: Ultimate warrior athlete preliminaries June 30

26 Jun 2017 | Jeremy Beale/Staff Writer Marine Corps Base Quantico

For the third year in a row, the High Intensity Tactical Training program (HITT) will answer the question, “Who among the few and proud are the toughest tactical warrior athletes within the Marine Corps?” as instillations across the world host preliminary competitions for a chance to travel to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, August 28-31, to compete in the HITT finals to prove who is the best of the best.  

Marine Corps Base Quantico’s HITT program will host its final preliminary June 30 from 8‒10:30 a.m. at Butler Stadium.

The competition is open to active duty Marines only and every Marine will participate on an individual basis in their Marine issued boots and utes.

Preliminary events will be facilitated and validated by the HITT program coordinator, as no deviation from the preliminary event protocols will be allowed.

Marines who participate must have command approval and a complete registration form submitted to the installation HITT program coordinator prior to the preliminary event June 30; otherwise participation will not be allowed.

The registration forms can be found on the Quantico Semper Fit Facilities HITT website (click on 2017 HTAC registration link), or at the trainer’s desk at the Barber Physical Activities Center. Completed registration forms can be emailed to HITT Coordinator Charles Yackle at, or submitted in person at the trainer’s desk.

“We want to send the best Marine-athletes to compete in the championship from Marine Corps Base Quantico,” Yackle said. “Other HITT program coordinators use this competition as a bragging right for the entire year and every installation wants to send the winners to the championship.”

Last year, Staff Sgt. Lauren Schoener, an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona and Cpl. Joshua Boozer from 29 Palms, brought the title back to their installations last year.  Marine Staff Sgt. Amanda Jenks, Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command, represented MCBQ last year and placed third, an honor, considering the difficulty of the competition.

In an interview between Marine Corps Community Services and Schoener, the female Marine said she was inspired to push through to the end, especially when she found herself in first place by the end of day two. 

“My secret to success is to be tenacious, consistent and always try anything twice,” said Schoener.

The competition consists of three events meant to push Marines past their breaking point by combining the five unified components of functional based training—movement prep; strength and power; speed, agility and endurance; flexibility and core stability; recovery and mobility.

Marine warrior athletes will take part in the HITT performance combine, a test of athletic prowess comprised of the pro agility drill, 3-cone drill, kneeling med ball throw, standing broad jump, prone 25-yard sprint and the 300-yard shuttle.

A 400-yard tactical shuttle run and strength challenge will also be included. The 400-yard tactical shuttle run is a test on anaerobic capacity and mettle, consisting of a 50-yard sprint with the Frog training device, 100-yard fireman’s carry with a sandbag, 100-yard run with kettle bells and a 100-yard bear hug run with a sandbag.

The strength challenge consists of a kettle bell dead lift, TRX (utilizing straps) inverted row, and TRX atomic push-up. The objective is to complete as many repetitions as possible in one minute for each movement.

HITT performance combine and the 400-yard tactical shuttle run will be scored by time and the strength challenge will be scored based on repetitions.

According to Yackle, the set-up is very structured, meaning all competitors will move from one event to the next in an orderly fashion and while all events are expected to be completed with maximum effort, Marines are provided ample time for rest—something that is not usually incorporated in CrossFit type workouts or functions.

“I want this competition to bring attention to the benefits the HITT program has on Marines aboard Quantico,” Yackle said. “As a professional strength and conditioning coach, I fully endorse the HITT program as a superior training platform for the active duty Marine and right now not enough Marines are utilizing the program and the professionals running it.”

According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) Tactical Strength and Conditioning (TSAC) NSCA-TSAC Department, the HITT program methodology offers a comprehensive and balanced strength and conditioning approach specific for combat readiness and physical resiliency.

The primary purpose of the HITT program is to enhance operational fitness levels and optimize combat readiness and resiliency for the active duty Marine.

This comprehensive strength and conditioning program takes into consideration the physical demands of operational related activities in order to optimize physical performance while in combat by implementing the latest cutting edge training methods and fundamental scientific principles.

HITT  has many advantages including preventing  potential injuries through a well-designed, balanced and progressive prevention program, thus minimizing muscle imbalances, strengthening tendons and ligaments, along with increasing work capacity.

It also increases performance levels that support combat-specific tasks through sound strength and conditioning programs designed around a comprehensive approach, balancing all facets of performance enhancement and exercises that will transfer to the demands of combat.

The goal is to build strong Marines and further optimize their mobility and speed so these mobilized warriors may deliver more force on demand.

Check the MCCS Semper Fit Facilities website ( or call the HITT coordinator at 703-432-0592 for the most up-to-date information.

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