METAIRIE, La. - While the New Orleans Saints were on the road preparing and training in Houston for their second preseason game against the Texans on Saturday, over 140 attendees were training and preparing for the rigors of Marine Corps Recruit Training at the Saints Training Facility.
Marine Corps Recruiting Station Baton Rouge, in partnership with the Saints, held a "Combat Fitness Challenge," at the Metairie training facility, Aug. 22.
The event was a combination of the Marine Corps' Physical Fitness Test and Combat Fitness Test, consisting of an 880 meter run, crunches, pull-ups, ammo can lift, and a demanding obstacle course.
"The participants were able to experience the Saints facility while also getting to experience some of the rigors of recruit training," said Master Sgt. Terry Hall, a 34-year-old from Alexandria, La., and the assistant recruiter instructor, for RS Baton Rouge.
The event's planners said they wanted to make the event physically strenuous, but not impossible to finish.
"Hopefully the participants will see that the Marine Corps is a challenge, but it is something they can definitely do," said Capt. Paul D. Fischer, the executive officer for RS Baton Rouge. "I also hope they take away some of the pride and professionalism we have as Marines, and also, for them to see us do what we do best and that's train to fight for a combat scenario."
According to Maj. Ross Parrish, a 35-year-old from Destrehan, La., and the commanding officer of RS Baton Rouge, the event was an opportunity to go out into the community while partnering with a "first class" organization.
"It was an effort to invest in the future of the area, as far as the education and healthy lifestyle, that's encouraged by the Saints and the Marine Corps," Parrish said.
This year marked the first time the Saints and RS Baton Rouge joined together for the Combat Fitness Challenge. The turnout was exceptional, according to those involved in the planning.
"The event turned out great," said R.J. Mata, the Saints' senior account executive for corporate partnerships. "With the large turnout and interest in the event, I think it's something that's going to build for the next couple of years."
Mata said the Saints organization saw the opportunity to team up with the Marine Corps and promote their shared interests of a "commitment to excellence" and an emphasis on "character."
"The organization loves partnering with the Marine Corps," Mata said. "Mr. [Tom] Benson [the Saints' owner] actually served in the Navy and is a big military aficionado and he always encourages us to go out and do partnerships like this.
"Our players defend the end zones while the Marines defend our country; it's only natural for the two organizations to go hand in hand with each other."
The New Orleans Saints and RS Baton Rouge have several upcoming scheduled events including a chin-up competition across Louisiana high schools, a military appreciation day at the Louisiana Superdome, Nov. 2, and a Marine Corps Day, Nov. 8.