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Kearsarge Backloads 22nd MEU from Kuwait

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Story Number: NNS071103-03
Release Date: 11/3/2007 5:31:00 PM

From USS Kearsarge Public Affairs

ABOARD USS KEARSARGE (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) backloaded more than 1,800 Sailors and Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (22 MEU) from Kuwait, Oct. 10-15, after conducting sustainment training exercises.

"The training was beneficial to the Marines because we were able to hone our combat skills and get acclimated to a desert environment," said Maj. Charles Megown, 22 MEU Air Combat Element, future operations officer. "The (Battalion Landing Team) Marines had the opportunity to use small arms ranges and conduct combat specific training while the aviation team conducted air combat training and practiced desert terrain landings."

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

"The backload was one of the smoothest evolutions I have ever done," said Gas Turbine Systems Mechanic 1st Class Nathan Cornier, craft engineer for ACU 4. "ACU 4 did more than 45 loads by LCAC for the Kearsarge Strike Group with no mechanical problems or mishaps."

For Kearsarge, the evolution was a collaborative effort between the ship's Combat Cargo Department, ACU 4, and the ship's Air, Engineering and Deck Departments.

"Our main goal in the well deck is safety," said Staff Sgt. Joseph Nicholson, loadmaster for Combat Cargo Department. "All equipment and personnel were guided into the well deck safely and efficiently."

Amphibious transport dock USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) and dock landing ship USS Ponce (LPD 15) also welcomed back their Marines after spending more than a month in Kuwait.

Kearsarge is on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of Maritime Security Operations.



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