MCMAP instructor earns ‘Gung Ho’ award

3 Mar 2008 | Cpl. John J. Parry

In the Marine Corps’ Martial Arts Instructor Course, many Marines will face some of the most challenging training of their careers. Marines who undergo this rigorous endeavor will earn their stripe with blood, sweat and tears.

 While there are many honors a Marine will receive throughout his career, the “Gung Ho” award is an honor bestowed upon the most motivated Marines. Sgt. Moises A. Navas, non-commissioned officer-in-charge, adjutant’s office, was named the Gung Ho Marine for the MAI course at Marine Barracks Washington, Mar. 3.

 “In reference to MCMAP, the gung ho award is awarded to the Marine who not only demonstrates mental and physical discipline, but also the character discipline,” said Capt. Antony Andrious, the battalion black belt instructor trainer in charge of the course.

 “The Gung Ho award is presented by the instructors, but chosen by the classmates,” said Andrious. “Everyone in the class felt that Sergeant Navas was the Marine who was always positive no matter what was going on. He never gave up. He encouraged Marines, his classmates, to get through the challenging times.”

 “When I was in the instructor course, I wasn’t even thinking about the award,” a smiling Navas said. “I felt we had a tough three weeks, so all I could do as a squad leader was push the Marines around me. The fact that they saw me as a positive influence means a lot to me because we all worked so hard.”

 Navas and the Marines of “The Oldest Post of the Corps” embarked on the Barracks’ first MAI course throughout the month of January, just after the completion of its holiday break. Most of the students had little idea of what they would encounter at the MAI course.

 “It was more difficult than I anticipated,” said Navas, who, among five others, graduated from a class that began with 12. “With the limited resources available for training at the Barracks, they pushed us. They taught me to use the tools available to train and push Marines. That is what it’s all about.”

 The instructor-trainers pushed the Marines through physical training daily, in addition to sparring sessions and practical application of new techniques. The course began with a physical fitness and combat fitness test and culminated with running the obstacle, endurance and stamina courses of Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.

 “To take this course, you’ve got to be physically fit,” added the 6’2, 215 pound Navas. “You have to put yourself in a mindset that will make you intense, but you can’t only look after yourself. Some days you feel great. Other days you are the guy slowing everybody down. We learned to pick each other up because negative talk doesn’t help anyone. You start together and finish together.”

 The Martial Arts Instructor Course also requires a stringent academic curriculum. Gung Ho award recipients must find time to excel in all areas of course instruction.

 “A leader sets the example,” said Lance Cpl. Patrick F. Harrington, company clerk, Bravo Company. “Sgt. Navas always set the example, and he pushed and challenged all of us to work harder.”

 Hard work and dedication to duty have paid off for Navas, who was recently selected for the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program while on deployment in Iraq. He is slated to attend preparatory school in May.

 As his recent award proves, Navas has been forged from his blood, sweat and tears shed since he attended boot camp in 2004. From his “Gung Ho” Award to his deployment overseas, he has tackled every challenge in his way. Now, college and the Marine Corps officer program are his newest challenges, but, like the rest of them, the results should remain the same.

 Lance Cpl. Jacob H. Harrer contributed to this story.