Royal Marines head across the pond to defend their honour

Storyline: NavyFit

Over 250 Royal Marines have arrived in Virginia, USA ready to participate in Exercise Virginia Gauntlet.

Exercise Virginia Gauntlet 3 is a Royal Marines sports tour that will see British Marines compete against their United States counterparts in 26 different sports. 

2024 is the third year the exercise has occurred, with the first in 2012, and second in 2019, both seeing the UK Marines return home with the trophy. 

In the lead up to the main competition against the US Marine Corps, teams will train and compete with local US civilian and emergency service teams including the New York Police Department, US Army, and University and Regional sports clubs. 

The exercise demonstrates the importance of sport as a tool to build relationships and develop friendly yet competitive camaraderie with our allied nations.

Exercise coordinator, Maj Wayne Grounsell said, ‘It is an important year for the Royal Marines as we celebrate our 360th birthday, so being able to reinforce our strong relationship with the USMC through the power of sport is especially prevalent. 

It is not about who wins the Virginia Gauntlet trophy, but about highlighting and growing that comradeship and ability to work together that sport provides a platform for.

It has taken a huge amount of commitment and organisation from the sports association secretaries to organise each fixture they have, but it goes to show how important the relationship is for everyone involved, both UK and US. 

The US teams have been incredibly accommodating and to be able to provide this opportunity to so many of our Marines is very special.’ 

Training and competition fixtures will take place across the country in the lead up to the 3-day tournament against the US Marine Corps from 17-19 April. The closing ceremony will take place on 19 April, when the winner from across the Virginia Gauntlet fixtures will be crowned.