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Harpers Ferry Sailors Train Like they Fight

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050715-18
Release Date: 7/15/2005 3:06:00 PM

By Journalist 2nd Class (SW) Brian P. Biller, USS Harpers Ferry Public Affairs

EAST CHINA SEA (NNS) -- USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) completed its Amphibious Specialty Training (AST) July 10.

The ship passed this rigorous training, evaluation and certification with flying colors, thanks to the high skill level of the crew of the forward deployed amphibious dock landing ship.

“We start with the well deck. We teach the deck crew to work with the different amphibious craft,” said Naval Group 1 Amphibious Specialty Training (PHIBSPECTRA) Senior Observer, Master Chief Boatswain’s Mate (SW/FMF) Timothy R. Beaman.

Harpers Ferry Sailors launched and recovered Landing Craft Utility (LCU), Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC), Armored Amphibious Vehicles (AAV), Light Amphibious Resupply Cargo (LARC) 5 ton vehicles, and Combat Rubber Raiding Craft (CRRC).

Training outside of Sasebo harbor, the East China Sea and White Beach, Okinawa, Harpers Ferry, along with USS Essex (LHD 2), completed the myriad of exercises, working with elements of Beach Master Unit (BMU) 1, Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 1, Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5, and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).

“The weeklong evolution provides the ship with valuable training from senior, experienced training team members, affording us the opportunity to improve our practices, incorporate new techniques, and develop a solid baseline for future amphibious training and operations,” said Harpers Ferry Boatswain, Chief Warrant Officer Jeffrey E. McElhannon. “Upon completion of the training, we received our well deck certification, and our amphibious warfare certification,” McElhannon added.

Beaman said the men and women of the ship did a great job and that he and his team were received with open arms.

“I received very positive feedback from the AST evaluators. They were more than impressed with the skill level of our Sailors and pointed out how refreshing it was to conduct this training with such a professionally oriented and enthusiastic crew,” said Harpers Ferry Commanding Officer, Cdr. Marlin C. Anthony. “On the heels of a recent Persian Gulf deployment, as well as the high operational tempo that is the norm for a forward deployed ship, Harpers Ferry Sailors are continually ready to meet the mission, because we have to be,” he added.

Highly successful in accomplishing tasks in a professional manner quickly and efficiently, Harpers Ferry gained her certification and in typical forward deployed fashion, made preparations to deploy again in support of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT 2005).

Harpers Ferry is part of the world’s only forward deployed amphibious strike group, homeported in Sasebo, Japan.


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