MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, NC -- Fourteen teams, consisting of more than 70 Marines, recently participated in the Marine Helicopter Training (MHT) Squadron 302 Echo-Challenge, a six-mile run, and 12-mile bike race and stretcher carry event designed to test endurance. The event was a chance for the squadron to earn extra free time while helping to raise money for their Marine Corps Birthday Ball fund.

The course featured a unique twist—competitors had to answer questions related to Marine Corps history, regulations and customs and courtesies. By adding the questions, planners hoped to challenge the contestants both physically and mentally.

The commanding officer (CO) of HMT-302, Lt. Col. Archibald M. McLellan, offered any Marine who finished before him a four-day weekend pass.

“We came out here to beat the CO; that’s a major reason,” says competitor Lance Cpl. Albert Romero. The feat isn’t as easy as it would seem because the CO is considered a “PT machine” throughout the squadron, Romero says.