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Pushing past the standard, staying physically fit at sea

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Lifting weights Marine Corps
Photo by Lance Cpl. Jonah Baase

ABOARD USS BONHOMME RICHARD (LHD 6), At Sea, Pacific Ocean – Marines and Sailors with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Navy’s Expeditionary Strike Group 7 crowd the gym aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) at all hours of the day and night.
Still, some faces are more common than the rest. Staff Sgt. Cary Chase is one of those faces.

“I needed to change my habits,” said Chase, the disbursing chief of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Combat Logistics Battalion 31, from Bonire, Georgia. “I wasn’t happy with where I was physically but now the gym is my home away from home where I can tune the world out for a while.”

Finding that a rigorous gym schedule reinforced the discipline required to manage financial accounts for the Marines and Sailors of the 31st MEU, Chase goes to the gym twice a day, every day, and studies nutrition to focus her food intake.

True to the title ‘Marine,’ Chase’s ambitions did not stop with becoming more fit. Her passion for weightlifting continued to grow as she won three bodybuilding competitions in gyms from Tokyo to Okinawa, Japan.

Staff Sgt. Cary Chase
Staff Sgt. Cary Chase, from Bonire, Georgia. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Jonah Baase/Released)

“Competitions were the next step to prove to myself that I was making progress,” said Chase. “You don’t see results overnight and this was how I wanted to test my strength.”

The demands of life in the Marine Corps make physical fitness vital to any Marine’s success. At any time a Marine may be called to get the job done no matter the mission, whether it be combat or humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

“It’s more than a routine,” said Chase. “It helps me prepare physically and mentally to support my Marines whether it be in a combat zone or day to day operations.”

Once Chase started working out with Sgt. Theresa Batt, a finance technician with CLB-31, from Cleveland, Ohio, she learned how to be a stronger leader, inside and outside the gym, taking her time to provide mentorship and guidance to her Marines to support their personal and professional goals.

“We became frequent gym partners,” said Batt. “She corrected my form and wouldn’t let me off the bench until my sets were completed. She doesn’t quit on her Marines, she’s full of energy and always motivates Marines she works and trains with.”

Chase continues to stick with her rigorous workout schedule, training side by side with Batt to ensure they’re ready to meet any challenge.
“We need to be prepared for anything with the world we live in,” said Chase. “A Marine needs to be proficient at their job, and that includes pushing themselves and their peers to be the best they can.”

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