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Navy-Marine Corps Team Train for Success

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070503-04
Release Date: 5/3/2007 3:23:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Carlos Cepeda, USS Tarawa Public Affairs

USS TARAWA, At Sea (NNS) -- Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicles (AAVs) from Camp Pendleton, Calif., beached themselves in the belly of USS Tarawa (LHA 1) on April 20 while conducting well deck training operations off the coast.

The purpose of the training was to prepare Tarawa’s Deck Department personnel and Marines in the safe handling of the AAVs, prior to the ship's next scheduled major deployment.

Five AAVs, manned by students from 1st Assault Amphibious Battalion, made the journey from the beaches of Camp Pendleton into Tarawa’s submerged well deck. The AAVs drove up Tarawa’s stern gate to the upper vehicle stowage area and drove around the ship’s center divider to position themselves facing outboard. During this maneuver, a couple of the AAVs encountered a problem with their tracks.

“Two of the AAV’s must have hit something during their entrance,” said Machinery Repairman 1st Class Stephen Jones, Tarawa Repair Division, after investigating a breakdown that caused a delay in the operation. “Two of the AAV’s forward tread tracks lost approximately 20 bolts. We managed to put them back together and get the AAVs on their way to finish the operation.”

Although breakdowns are unlikely to occur, the possibilities of one happening can be critical to any excercise.

“There are always risks during these operations,” said Seaman Matthew Shorney. “We have to be ready for any man overboard, collisions or breakdowns.”

The process was slow, but with the Marines and Tarawa Repair Division working together as a team, they were able to fix the vehicles and get the job done.

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