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Marines Get Unique Opportunity Aboard USS Mustin

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080219-12
Release Date: 2/19/2008 3:26:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Derek J. Hurder, Fleet Public Affairs Center Det., Japan

USS MUSTIN, At Sea (NNS) -- A group of Marines, who embarked the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89) to observe a naval weaponry live-fire exercise got more than they bargained for, Feb. 13.

The Marines were invited to the bridge by Commanding Officer, Cmdr. James Jones to learn how to steer the ship.

Cpl. Taylor Stevenson, one of the Marines who manned the helm, said the task was harder than it looked.

"Keeping on course is the most difficult part," Stevenson said. "This is my second time driving, but I didn't do any better this time."

Seaman Elizabeth Gomez, who trained the Marines at the helm, disagreed.

"They didn't do too bad," she said. "They were a little scared because they're not used to the rocking of the ship, but that's understandable."

Gomez and other bridge watchstanders briefly showed the Marines every facet of the bridge.

"It was a really quick crash course on conning the ship: all the controls we have on board, like throttle controllers, our steering units, the helm itself, basically how to try and stay on course," said Gomez, who first learned to steer the ship about a year ago. "I think they were a little shy about moving the helm quickly. It takes a little while to get completely comfortable with it."

Although he greatly appreciated the opportunity, Stevenson pointed out one particular lesson he learned from the experience.

"Everyone here is a lot better off without me driving the ship," he said.

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