U.S. Marines Challenge Penobscot Job Corps Academy Students 

The United States Marine Corps issued a challenge to students at the Penobscot Job Corps Saturday.They wanted them to go head to head on the Combat Fitness Test.And the students gladly accepted the challenge.It isn’t your typical fitness test. It’s the Combat Fitness Test, one the United State Marine Corps uses to get members ready for recruit training.”So what we do during that time period is we give them physical training, mental training, things to get them ready for Parris Island to set them up for success,” explained Sgt. Edward Powers with the U.S. Marine Corps.The guys participating from the Marine Corps are all in the delayed entry program. That means they each have projected shipping dates to boot camp. Some of them leave in 6 months, others in a year, and for this test, they challenged Penobscot Job Corps student to go sit-up to sit-up with them.”Made the center look pretty good that they wanted to come and challenge us versus anybody else. So it kind of feels like a pretty good privilege,” said Orrin Moody. For Timothy Belanger, it’s something that gives him great pride, ” I’ve always wanted to be in the Marines. My father was in the Marines, my grandfather was in the Marines. So if I go out here with my fellow Marines it makes me feel like I’m following what my family did back in the years.”No one will tell you this is a simple test. One activity had the participants running across a field to retrieve a fallen soldier and carrying him to safety. “The physical ability, the discipline, it’s quite a challenge,”said Moody.Brandon Johnson would love to join the military, so he loved the experience, “Being able to compete against them is an awesome feeling.”Even though they were technically competing, the Marines were on the sidelines cheering on the Job Corps crew. “It made me want to work harder, that’s for sure. Having them right there telling me what to do, they give you an adrenaline rush,” said Moody.Sgt. Powers says team work is what it’s all about, “We’re trained right from the start to have a good sense of team work, and as it turns out here with the interaction from the Job Corps folks, basically they’re out here sharing the hardship, sharing the challenges that we’re engaging in as well. So with that we see them as a kind of temporary member of our team.”All in all it was a great experience for everyone, and one the Penobscot Job Corps folks hope they can take part in again.” Maybe we can step up our game and compete again maybe next year and give them a challenge,” said Dylan Bellegarde.”I’m very proud of my students. I think they’ve done a phenomenal job and they’ve met the challenge and I think my students are the best of the best,” said Mary Lopinto, Work Base Learning Coordinator at Penobscot Job Corps.