U.S. Marines with 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion (2nd AA Bn), 2nd Marine Division, took on a challenge as the first unit to navigate the newly-opened Leadership Reaction Course (LRC) on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Jan. 7.

More than 60 Marines with 2nd AA Bn maneuvered through four different obstacles, some leading the path to victory and other to defeat.

“Marines gain a lot from this training and most importantly they gain the ability to think in a time constrained, stressful situation,” said Staff Sgt. Donald McBee Jr., the mine countermeasure platoon sergeant with 2nd AA Bn. “There are frictions that are thrown at them, having to think under pressure, giving them the ability to problem solve on the move.”

The Marines divided into 12 teams of five, rotating through the different obstacles, each requiring critical thinking and problem solving skills to maneuver. Each station consists of its own rules and objectives: red surfaces couldn’t be touched, only the materials provided could be used and all Marines have to make it through the obstacle safely. The team also had to complete each station in less than 15 minutes.

At each obstacle, a new Marine was given an opportunity to lead by becoming the fire team leader for the group. That Marine’s responsibility was to form a plan, and organize and direct the Marines on hand to solve the obstacle in the time allotted. The objective of Marine Corps leadership is to develop the leadership qualities of Marines to enable them to assume progressively greater responsibilities. Regardless of rank, every Marine must be prepared to lead.

“I gained a lot of experience about critical thinking that I wouldn’t usually get from my day to day work,” said Cpl. Arthur Lesso, a metal worker with 2nd AA Bn. “I most definitely would do it again. It helps leaders and people who wouldn’t be leaders to flex that muscle and just figure out a problem that doesn’t have an easy solution.”

According to McBee, 2nd AA Bn participated in the LRC as their Back in the Saddle (BITS) training to start 2020 off right. The goal of BITS is to refocus Marines after the holiday and prepare them for the year ahead.

“The LRC is absolutely great training, and I am glad they brought it back,” McBee said. “I guarantee that we will be coming back to do follow up training here.”