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26th Marine Expeditionary Unit

A Certain Force in an Uncertain World

Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
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USS Saipan displays Navy/Marine Corps teamwork

By Cpl. Derek Shoemake | October 06, 2000

USS SAIPAN, Adriatic Sea -- Since the establishment of the Continental Navy and Continental Marines during the Revolutionary War, the two services have worked and fought together as a team.Their spirit of commitment to "sacrifice for country" is still alive today, especially aboard the Norfolk-based amphibious assault ship USS SAIPAN (LHA 2).Currently deployed in the Mediterranean, the 2,300 Sailors and Marines attached to the command and embarked units practice teamwork on a daily basis.Regardless of the task, be it preparing for amphibious assault missions to routine cleaning of spaces, the Blue/Green team gets the job done.It's amazing to see how such a diverse group, with unique capabilities and specialties all their own, combine forces to reflect the ship's motto: "OMNIA FACIMUS -- We do it all." One of the many examples of teamwork in action aboard USS SAIPAN is the ship's Combat Cargo crew. Their mission: coordinate the movement of all on-coming/off-going equipment and personnel. It's a job that requires close supervision with every unit aboard.Combat Cargo is led by four permanently assigned Marines. It's augmented with 44 embarked personnel from Camp Lejeune's 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable). Master Sergeant Darryl G. Farr, the enlisted "top dog" serves as the Combat Cargo Assistant. He explained why teamwork is vital to SAIPAN's mission accomplishment. "We handle everything, vehicles, pallets, ammunition, you name it" Farr said. "Moving people and equipment is dangerous - aboard a ship, it's a dangerous environment. We have to do it expeditiously, can't take all day, but there's always the need to emphasize safety."Of Farr's 44 Marines, 22 are assigned duties on the Flight Deck. The others tackle their difficult job in the down in the Well Deck."During Air operations, helos are always coming and going on the Flight Deck. You need to get the people and cargo off the deck quickly," Farr said. To do the job safely, Farr's crew has to coordinate with the ship's Air Department and embarked aviation squadrons to get the materials stowed in the proper place at the proper time.The same is especially true for the Well Deck and cargo storage areas. Loading and off-loading Landing Craft Unit (LCU) boats take precision and extreme caution. Combat Cargo works side-by-side with the ship's Deck Department, which oversees the boats arrivals and departures. Then there's the coordination with the embarked crews attached to Assault Craft Unit Two, which operate the LCU's and all the other embarked Sailors, Marines and ship's company which "own" the materials.Farr is proud of his Combat Cargo team. The Chicago native sees the work they do as an extension of the amphibious operations and teamwork displayed everyday between the two military services."Without the Navy, there would be no Marine Corps. Without the Marine Corps, the Navy wouldn't have as much power projection. The Navy controls the seas, but it's the Marine Corps that controls the shore," Farr said. "Together, they compliment each other to become an extremely effective fighting force."As the Continental Marines and Sailors who served before them, SAIPAN's Blue/Green team is making history...serving their country with pride, professionalism and honor.


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