USS CARTER HALL -- Marines are integrating with sailors aboard amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall during the ship’s current deployment.
Carter Hall, along with the other ships of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group, is transiting with Marines from 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit across the Atlantic Ocean through 6th Fleet to the 5th Fleet Areas of Responsibility. Carter Hall’s mission is to support maritime security operations in the 5th Fleet AOR, which will help promote global security and prosperity.
While underway, the Marines have the opportunity to become familiar with shipboard life and learn about the various jobs sailors perform at sea.
“The Marines are interested in learning about the different responsibilities and duties of Carter Hall sailors,” said Marine Gunnery Sgt. John Patrick Saul, Company Gunnery Sergeant, Lima Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/8. “We’re all professionals with a shared mission, and that mission will go a lot smoother if we understand and appreciate each other.”
Marines incorporate themselves by being proactive in ships activities. They assist Carter Hall sailors with cleaning duties and get involved with a variety of projects on board.
Petty Officer 1st Class Telma Stephens said she enjoys working with the Marines when they help out on the mess decks and in the galley.
“We teach them different techniques and give them a chance to see the at-sea aspect of military food service – as opposed to the field,” said Stephens. “The Marines work right alongside us, and fit right in. They are great to work with.”
The relationship between the Navy and Marine Corps leadership on board is crucial to the overall success of the integration. Good communication among the chiefs and gunnery sergeants filters down through the ranks and influences sailors and Marines at all levels.
“It’s all about mutual respect,” said Saul. “We have different roles in our missions, ours take us ashore, but when we’re not on the shore our ability to work together and respect one another at all ranks is key.”
26th MEU deployed aboard the ships of Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group in late August responding to an order by the Secretary of Defense to support Pakistan flood relief efforts.