The United States Marine Corps is no stranger to high-profile guests. Katy Perry once filmed an entire music video, that aside from insinuating women should shave their heads prior to enlistment, served as much as a recruiting commercial as it did a chance for Perry to strut her stuff. These kinds of deals are beneficial for both the celebrity, and the Corps in a number of ways, and now you can add Kate Upton to the list of celebs that are eager to get in the mud with Marines… at least long enough for a photo-op.
While seemingly silly, it’s important to remember that our American military infrastructure depends on young men and women choosing to forgo the comforts of being your average teenager in America (which, despite their complaints levied daily on social media, is a pretty sweet gig) in favor of long hours, often doing grueling work, and all with the promise of the Huffington Post insinuating your service made you a racist one day. When you think about it like that, it makes a lot of sense that the Corps chases some positive PR every now and then; which is just what a group of women like Kate Upton and the Detroit Tigers Wives (an organized group of spouses of players from the Detroit Tigers) offered the Marines in Detroit on Tuesday.
I’ve always had a lot of respect for our military, but the Marine Corps showed me a whole new level with their workout today,” said Kate Upton after a joint workout led by Gunnery Sergeant Sara Pacheco. “What I enjoyed the most was spending time with them and I’m really looking forward to Marine Week in September in Detroit. It will be an incredible way for the entire community to get to know the Marines and their mission like I was able to today.”
Pacheco is a force fitness instructor stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia – and she’ll also be in attendance at Marine Week Detroit to host workout sessions that are open to the public. It will offer civilians a chance to not only work out like Kate Upton did, but to see the types of group PT (physical training) often employed by Marine Corps units, an important part of the branch’s culture and a large facet of daily life in the service.
It was a great event and Kate and the other women did an awesome job,” said Pacheco before offering some advice to those who intend to come out during Marine Week Detroit. “Be prepared to be challenged but have fun at the same time. The workouts will test you physically and mentally.”
Those who have spent time in Marine Corps units know the reality of most physical training involves a lot more challenge and a whole lot less “fun,” but then, there are also very few lava monsters to fight with an NCO sword, despite the promises of past recruiting efforts. The point is, Upton’s high profile offers the Corps a chance to reach potential recruits they may not have otherwise actively engaged, and Upton, like many celebrities today, recognizes the value in being seen as supportive of America’s troops.
The workout included seven rounds of common exercises like burpees, toe-touch squats, push-ups and sprints.
“I always knew the Marines are very disciplined, but, man they really didn’t let me get away with anything. I thought they’d be ok with me having a little bit of a cheat on those numbers but no, you do those 10 pushups!” Upton told People Magazine.
After the workout, Upton and Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander donned Kevlars and packs to get a sense of what the Wins for Warriors inaugural Patriot Ruck, one of Marine Week Detroit’s featured events, would entail when it kicks off on September 9th.
“I think it’s easy to show your support with words. I think going out there and doing that workout I think really shows how much she supports (the military),” Verlander, the founder of the Wins for Warriors charity, told the Washington Post.
Marine Week Detroit will similarly be an important public outreach opportunity, as the Marine Corps has suffered a number of high profile “brand setbacks” in recent years – issues that often earn an eye roll from Marines, but that can reflect poorly on the branch in the minds of the general public. From snipers urinating on terrorist corpses, to allegations of abuse at recruit training, and most recently (and egregiously), the scandal surrounding a group called “Marines United” sharing nude images of female service members, the past decade has been hard on the Corps in terms of combat operations as well as marketing. Throwing a swimsuit model into unit PT may not be the cure for the Corps’ image woes, but it might be better to think of these efforts as individual drops in a bucket that will eventually shift perception.
Or at least, that’s the plan.
Marine Week Detroit will commence on September 6th and continue through the 10th. More than 700 Marines are expected to take part in a number of events held all around the city throughout the week, and unlike military training exercises, the public is welcome and invited to get up an up close view of the equipment the Corps uses, and the Marines that make it all function.
Feature image courtesy of Justin Verlander on Twitter