Marines honor Devil Pups for participating in ‘most challenging camp in the country’

L to R: Alena Lorentzen, Sayuri Catalan, Tanner Roberts, Tristan Anderson, JT Ybright, Richard Armstrong and Kyle Grable, Southern Utah Devil Pups at the recognition breakfast hosted by the Utah Dixie Detachment 1270 Saturday, St. George, Utah, Sept. 9, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Bill Fortune, St. George News

ST. GEORGE  — Southern Utah Devil Pups were recognized Saturday for their participation in a physical fitness program that started in spring and finished with a 10-day competition at Camp Pendleton, California, among youth from all over the country. Special recognition was given to one Southern Utah participant whose efforts earned a perfect score during the challenge – only the third awarded in the local program’s history.

There were ten participants in this year’s “Devil Pups” youth program. They and their families enjoyed a hearty breakfast at the St. George Dixie Elks Lodge 1743 along with the the Utah Dixie Detachment 1270 Marine Corps League, the supporters and supervisors of their program. After breakfast, all adjourned to the general meeting where the youth were acknowledged for their participation in the program.

Marine Corps League Commandant Dave Waters congratulates Alena Lorentzen on her achievement with perfect score during Physical Fitness test at Camp Pendelton as Les Covey looks on, St. George, Utah, Sept. 9, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Bill Fortune, St. George News

Every year, several local youths participate in the Devil Pups, a citizenship program that starts with spring training and ultimately takes them to a 10-day camp that mirrors the Marine Corps lifestyle. The training at Camp Pendleton promotes cooperation, respect, team-building and dignity.

This year’s Devil Pups were the following: Alena Lorentzen, 16, Sayuri Catalan, 17, Tanner Roberts, 15, Tristan Anderson, 16, JT Ybright, 15, Richard Armstrong, 15, and Kyle Grable, 17.

Three of the participants, Jared Leon, Emma Johnson and Adrian Lopez, completed the competition but were unable to attend the breakfast.

One Southern Utah cadet, Lorentzen of Pine View High School, earned a perfect score of 400 at the camp in the physical fitness program, an achievement recognized with a $100 scholarship award by the Dixie Detachment.

Lorentzen is the first female Devil Pup to achieve a perfect score.

“We had one Devil Pup that came close a few years ago, but she nailed it,” Bill Fortune, spokesman for the Dixie Detachment told St. George News Sunday.

Preparation for Camp Pendleton starts in the spring with early morning and Saturday workouts supervised by Dixie Detachment volunteers. This preparation from the start narrows the field to those who end up attending the camp.

Following their training, the Devil Pups “ship out” to Camp Pendleton, leaving at about 2 a.m. and driving all night to arrive at Camp Pendleton between 8:30-9 a.m. That’s when the drill instructor-type shouting begins, led by active duty Marine volunteers. Participants are quickly organized and prepared for their stay.

These young people sacrifice a lot to do this program, Fortune said. They exercise hard and give up many privileges, such as cell phones, for their stay to acquire this experience at the most challenging of camps in the country.

Once at the camp, participants compete with youth from other areas of the country.

Marine Sgt. Major Bill Head congratulates Alena Lorentzen on her successful score of 400 points on the Physical Fitness test at Camp Pendleton during awards breakfast Saturday, St. George, Utah, Sept. 9, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Bill Fortune, St. George News

On the 8th day, those who have made it through get to climb “Old Smokey,” where a special ceremony takes place and they are awarded the challenge coin.

“The character that is built from these experiences propels them into future achievements in their schooling and life experiences,” Fortune said. “When they complete that, they feel like they’ve accomplished something,” he said.

Fortune added that all participants did an amazing job this year.

“This isn’t a recruitment tool for the Marine Corps,” Fortune said. “It’s just a program using some of the techniques to motivate the young people, and helps point them in the right direction.”

The Devil Pups is a nonprofit organization that offers a demanding physical and academic citizenship program for young teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17. For more information on the program, contact the Utah Dixie Detachment 1270 Marine Corps League, Sgt. Bryce Lewis at 435-668-9761.

See Ed. Note following photo gallery

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.  

Ed. Note: This story has been updated to reflect additional information and earlier inaccuracies in regard to program specifics and participants.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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  • Bender September 10, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    oorah (smallest font)

  • Not_So_Much September 10, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Kudos all the way around.

  • mesaman September 10, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    ooorah! and Semper Fi, Alena. Well done.

  • comments September 10, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    bet those are some tough girls

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