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Kearsarge Strike Group Offloads 22nd MEU in Kuwait

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070921-08
Release Date: 9/21/2007 3:59:00 PM

From USS Kearsarge Public Affairs

USS KEARSARGE, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Kearsarge Strike Group offloaded more than 2,200 Sailors and Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in Kuwait in support of sustained training exercises Sept. 8-12.

The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), amphibious transport dock USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) and dock landing ship USS Ponce (LPD 15) contributed to the offload.

“These exercises are designed to hone the Marines’ combat skills and maximize readiness,” said Sgt. Maj. Thomas Hall, 22nd Command sergeant major. “We also want to get our Marines acclimated to the desert environment so they can be ready for any mission.”

During the offload, the Sailors and Marines were transported ashore via landing craft air cushion (LCAC) from Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 4 and helicopters from 22nd MEU’s Air Combat Element. Landing craft utility (LCU) boats also assisted in transporting personnel and equipment from the ships.

“This was definitely a total blue and green team effort,” Capt. James Gregorski, Kearsarge’s commanding officer. “Credit is due to our Deck, Air and Combat Cargo Air Departments who put in long hours and worked closely together to ensure a safe and efficient offload.”

1st Lt. Robert Stevenson, 22nd MEU’s embarkation officer, said preparation for the offload took weeks to ensure safety.

“We sent an advanced party of Marines to Kuwait before we started offloading,” said Stevenson. “We coordinated with them and the two other amphibious ships to offload the Marines and their equipment.”

Coordination took a collaborative effort by the ship’s Combat Cargo Department, ACU 4, and the ship’s Air and Deck Departments.

“It was truly an all-hands, ship-wide effort under arduous heat and humidity conditions. Every department played a key role,” said Cmdr. Peter Pagano, Kearsarge’s executive officer.

“Not only did all departments involved in this evolution provide great communication up and down the chain of command, we also performed the evolution safely with no mishaps,” added Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Christopher Falcon, a well deck safety observer for LCAC and LCU operations.

The Kearsarge Strike Group is on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of Maritime Security Operations (MSO). MSO help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations seek to disrupt violent extremists’ use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons, or other materials.

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