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Marines follow wooden cross in grueling 2-hour workout

CAMP KINSER, Okinawa, Japan (BP)–At first glance, the formation looked like the usual Marine Corps early-morning troop run.

Hard-chargers wearing boots and utility trousers kept in step while double-timing to the call of a military cadence. But a closer look revealed a distinct difference about this particular physical training (PT) session: in place of the usual guidon (flag bearer) up front, a Marine wielded a wooden cross as he led this motivated group.

More than 60 Kinser Marines and sailors from various units conducted Cross PT at Camp Kinser in Okinawa, Japan, in February in an effort to meditate on Christ’s suffering on the cross, said Lt. Cmdr. John T. Hannigan, base Chaplain.

“As Christians, we believe Christ went through much pain and physical strain during this final part of His life when He showed His great love for us,” the Chicago, Ill., native said. “The Cross PT gives us a glimpse of that strain and is a way for us to show our love for Him.”

The troops pushed themselves through a grueling two-hour workout, which consisted of running for more than three-miles and stopping at workout stations along the way.

“The PT session was tough,” said Lance Cpl. Robert F. Taylor. “But I did it to show my love for Christ.”

The 20-year-old Asheville, N.C., native said the physical strain he felt was nothing compared to what Christ endured for him.

The Cross PT was a voluntary event open to all Marines and sailors. It gave believers a chance to show their love for Christ and also enjoy fellowship, according to Lance Cpl. Mathew S. Glass.

“It was great to see so many other Marines and sailors share the same feelings as I do toward Christ,” the 20-year-old Austin, Texas, native said. “It was a motivating way of coming together and worshiping.”

Hannigan said the Cross PT was a way of including praise and fellowship with something most of the troops enjoy.

“A lot of Marines and Sailors like working out,” Hannigan said. “This way, they can exercise both their bodies and faith. Cross PT not only strengthens them physically, but also spiritually.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: MARINES MARCHING.

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  • Thomas A. Sloan