Photo gallery: Jungle warfare training on Okinawa
June 16, 2006
New personnel at the Jungle Warfare Training Center at Camp Gonsalves, Okinawa, often get a muddy welcome, especially during rainy season.
(Click here to read more about the training center.) Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Buscher, 27, squirms under the barbed wire covering one of the pits of the Pit and Pond obstacle of the endurance course. The obstacle includes several water-filled trenches, pits with underwater passageways, and pits strung with barbed wire and mock booby traps. Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Buscher, 27, avoids the barbed wire. Before the Marines reached this portion of the course, instructors combed the trenches and muddy waters to clear out the habu (snakes). One of the first obstacles Marines encounter on the endurance course is a rope bridge. The Marine were hooked into an overhead cable before they traversed the bridge over a ravine. Lance Cpl. Travis Vanwer, 21, leads the way across the rope bridge, which is close to the start of the endurance course. At this point, the team still had miles of mud and jungle to go.At the Slide for Life obstacle, Staff Sgt. David McDaniel, 26, a recent addition to the JWTC staff, waits for the signal to let go and drop into the pool. The Slide for Life pool is 20 feet deep and 60 feet long. Running the course was a great opportunity, said McDaniels. "We have to be able to do it in order to teach it to other Marines." Pfc. Jonathan Silva, 18, struggles to continue across the ravine. Safety swimmers were standing by in case he needed assistance if he fell into the water a few feet below. Sgt. Avil Smith, 23, and the rest of the seven-man team take a five-minute breather after completing an underwater crossing. After more than two hours of rappelling down slopes, traversing rope bridges and struggling through jungle, the Marines enter the first portion of the Pit and Pond. In this obstacle, they will have to low-crawl under barbed wire, through mud and murky water and avoid mock booby traps. Staff Sgt. David Mc Daniel, 26, shoulders the front end of the hasty litter as teammates share the weight at the back. They and three other teammates, all new staff at JWTC, slogged through the mud of Peanut Butter Alley that was imore than waist-deep in some areas. The seven new members of the the JWTC staff had to carefully pick their way across the first of two rope bridges, the first of a series of obstacles in the 3.8-mile endurance course. At the end of the endurance course, instructors hose the newbies down in order to get the thick mud and sludge out of their clothes.