Sailors aboard USS Boxer punch through deployment
Humidity hangs heavy in the air mixed with the smell of grease and sweat. The loud snap of leather hitting leather echoes through the hangar bay of amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). You can hear the sharp exhale as each snap cracks through the air.
Those exhales belong to Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Donta Wills, leading chief petty officer from G-3 Weapons Division.
Large mesh bags full of gear at his feet, Sailors and Marines alike, stand before him waiting for his boxing class to start.
"As soon as Chief Wills sent the email saying he would be teaching classes, I immediately felt happy and relieved," said Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jose Jaen. "I knew how much I would enjoy doing something that I love, after working hours."
Wills' boxing class attracts Sailors and Marines from the most novice of boxers, to those with a lifetime of experience.
"On deployment, it's time to get back into it," said Wills. "Give back to the crew; teach them some stuff that I know. We are all learning. My goal is to have fun."
Boxing is deeply rooted within the life of both instructor and several students.
Jaen, who is also an assistant boxing instructor and frequent participant, spends a significant amount of time holding the sparring mitts for Wills.
Students often watch the two spar; gloves and mitts popping smartly as technique and power sync seamlessly. The more experienced boxers seem to punch and move in unison, a small expression of the rhythm necessary to maximize the workout.