MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
More than 60 instructors and staff from the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Marine Unit Cherry Point participated in a polar bear plunge Feb. 22 at Atlantic Beach.
The instructors work every day with enlisted aviation maintenance students – mentoring, teaching and preparing them for life in the fleet.
Lt. Col. Jaime L. Gutierrez, commanding officer of CNATT, wanted to give the instructors and staff an opportunity to have some fun and give them a day off, but only after taking the Marines out of their comfort zone.
Gutierrez and Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey V. Dagenhart took the Marines to the beach for a motivational 3-mile run with an electrifying twist.
As they ran down the beach at sunrise, Gutierrez and Dagenhart swerved eastward, steering the unit waist deep into the frigid ocean waters of Atlantic Beach.
Gutierrez said the water was cold but they planned for that. The unit had medical corpsman there in case of emergency along with a safety vehical following the formation during the entire run.
As if a 3-mile run weaving in and out of the cold water wasn’t enough, all the Marines and Sailors rolled around in the sand and did push-ups before forming up for a final polar bear plunge into the cold water.
Each Marine and Sailor had a partner for safety reasons. Using the fireman’s carry, they lugged their partners into the water and switched when they decided to come out.
“It’s all about unit cohesion and camaraderie,” said Dagenhart. “We have outstanding instructors and staff members with this unit.”
Each of the Marines who participated will receive certificates signed by Gutierrez, who plans to hold the event annually.