(Click here for photos of jungle training on Okinawa)

CAMP GONSALVES, Okinawa — New personnel at the Jungle Warfare Training Center here often get a muddy welcome, especially during rainy season.

Everyone assigned to the center goes through the jungle skills endurance course’s 3.8 miles of mud, jungle and obstacles that bear colorful nicknames such as Pit and Pond, Slide for Life, Peanut Butter Alley and Cardiac Arrest Hill.

The course has taken teams anywhere from 3½ to nine hours to complete.

“Everyone goes through the endurance course so they can be empathetic for anyone else who comes here for training,” said JWTC commanding officer Lt. Col. Robert Sanchez.

He and his instructors ran seven new staff members through the endurance course Tuesday.

Chief instructor Gunnery Sgt. Kingsley Price said the endurance course pushes Marines “to the end of the rope then teaches them to put a knot on the end and get to the next level.”

The biggest challenge of the course is not the obstacles but developing teamwork even when pushed to the limits, he said.

The center’s staff, which rates a crew of 60 but currently operates with little more than 30, trains more than 7,000 Marines annually.

It offers three courses: a five-day jungle skills course; a 10-day modified survival, evasion, resistance, escape course and; a 16-day combat tracking course.

The camp, established in 1958, is on the northern end of the island and is the only Defense Department training area for jungle warfare. The Army operated a jungle warfare center in the Philippines that closed in the late 1990s.

In addition to Marines, the camp also sees sailors, soldiers and airmen. In past years, Japanese Defense Forces have also trained here.

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