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First Lt. David Fernandez, Marine Aviation Training Support Group 21, prepares for a hand-to-hand combat training session Nov. 4 during the final event to complete Marine Corps Martial Arts Program instructor trainer course at the Martial Arts Center of Excellence.

Photo by Ida Irby

Marines earn the coveted scarlet tab

19 Nov 2015 | Ida Irby Marine Corps Base Quantico

Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, instructor trainer course, completed its third cycle for 2015.

Thirty-seven new martial arts instructor trainers graduated Nov. 6 from the Martial Arts Center of Excellence at The Basic School aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico.

The final event to complete the course included a six-hour arrangement of challenges at Camp Barrett. Each event was designed to encompass the three disciplines taught during the seven-week course: physical, mental, and character. The final day included a blended mixture of bayonet fighting, hand-to-hand combat, and obstacle courses.

Marines began the day in a V-22 Osprey from Marine Helicopter Squadron One, which delivered them to their first location. Three squads separated and ruck marched to multiple locations, where they prepared to battle another squad.

“Regardless of the training length, it feels like an eternity as it gets harder throughout the afternoon” said Gunnery Sgt. David Caero, who monitored the miles traveled on this final day.

The strong significance of each discipline was not only taught, but felt. Marines added a sandbag at each station to symbolize one of the three disciplines. The culminating event for the evening was a squad-on-squad, close-quarter grapple.

“The final day tied everything we have learned together. Everyone was hit with a mental adversity, physical adversity, and test of character,” but most of all “it was great to finish as a team,” said Sgt. Donald Fowler, logistic support group at The Basic School.

At the end of the day, each attendee earned the coveted title of MCMAP instructor trainer and a first degree black belt. There is a five level belt system in MCMAP: tan belt, gray belt, green belt, brown belt and finally black belt. Each Marine who graduated the instructor trainer course was armed with the skills and qualifications to train each level of martial arts throughout Marine Corps.

Each Marine returned to their duty station with a scarlet tab on their belt to signify their achievements and continue teaching the fifteen-year legacy and philosophies taught at the Martial Arts Center of Excellence.

— Writer:
Marine Corps Base Quantico