USS CARTER HALL, ATLANTIC OCEAN -- Marines from 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit are training aboard USS Carter Hall during a Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPTUEX).
There are approximately 420 Marines integrating with the nearly 300 Sailors onboard Carter Hall. The Carter Hall is one of three ships attached to Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (KSG ARG), each of which has Marines onboard.
The Marines are conducting amphibious training exercises focusing on ship-to-shore movement and deck landing qualifications for their aviators. It is necessary for the Marines aboard Carter Hall to practice for the many missions they could be called upon to execute on deployment.
“In general, we’re going to be a reserve for the forces currently deployed right now,” said 1st Lt. Michael Battle, 2nd Platoon commander, Lima Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/8. “In order for that to happen we must integrate with the Navy and as a team be able to move from ship to shore and flex back again.”
The Marines are conducting a beach landing exercise with the entire Battalion Landing Team as a culminating event to their participation in COMPTUEX.
They are using landing craft air cushion and amphibious assault vehicles to leave through the ship’s well deck and launch their beach attack. In addition to the challenges of ship-to-shore transport, the Marines have also had to adapt to shipboard life during COMPTUEX.
“The group of Marines that we have on board has melded very well with the crew,” said Cmdr. George B. Doyon, Carter Hall’s commanding officer. “They came here with the right attitude and the Carter Hall crew has the right attitude. Everybody is working together toward a common goal. If you’re always working together, it becomes a lot easier to achieve whatever mission you may be given.”
For Marines like Lance Cpl. Michael Paugh, a rifleman from 2nd Platoon, 3rd Squad, getting the opportunity to work with the Navy is a great learning experience.
“My father retired from the Navy and I feel more connected to him and his experiences now that I’m on a ship,” Paugh said. “This is a good chance for all of us to learn how the Navy works.”
Sailors and Marines on board Carter Hall are fortunate to be able to witness the unified efforts of their branches.
“The Navy does its job to get us where we need to go,” said Paugh. “Without the Navy, we wouldn’t be able to get around as well and we wouldn’t really be a force of readiness. We need them and they need us.”
The relationships built between Carter Hall Sailors and Marines from 26th MEU will increase the potential for a successful mission once they go to sea.
“When we go on deployment, it’s going to be very easy for us to support one another and be able to achieve anything that is set before us because we’ve built that tight relationship already,” said Doyon.