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Mesa Verde Sailors and Marines Team for Expedition Exercise

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS090914-03
Release Date: 9/14/2009 4:47:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Hodges Pone III

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS Mesa Verde and approximately 375 U.S. Marines completed an Amphibious Squadron and Marine Expeditionary Unit exercise Sept. 4.

The exercise was used to test the capabilities of both entities during joint forces missions as well as prepare each for upcoming assignments.

Sailors and Marines were able to experience working as a single unit to provide support for the various scenarios they may encounter at sea. By doing so, each had to alter some of their routine to accommodate the other as well as learn how tasks were accomplished in their sister branch.

"We want to have a better understanding of what our Navy counterparts are doing," said Staff Sgt. Jesse Andrews of Combat Logistic Battalion. "This has to be a mutually supportive relationship for each service to complete its mission and thus far, this exercise has been exceptional. The Sailors aboard Mesa Verde have been very helpful."

Some of the adjustments included making preparations to bring in a MV-22 Osprey helicopter, which many members of Mesa Verde's flight deck team had never worked with.

Other Marine aircraft were brought onboard and flight deck personnel provided support to the members of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162. Mesa Verde's Aviation Fuels Officer, Lt. Robert Poggio, said that the invaluable experience gained while working with the squadron showed team members some of the different equipment they may see aboard the ship.

"Some of the aircraft used by the Marines are 'skids,' which mean they have no wheels," said Poggio. "To move them, you have to add handling wheels. It was good to have them onboard, because this has expanded the range of opportunities we have had. It's different, but exciting."

Sailors weren't the only service members changing the way things are done. Many of the Marines were receiving their first experience of being aboard a ship as well as doing their day-to-day jobs in a different environment.

"This is my first time on the ship and some of the areas are more confined than what some of us are used to," said Private First Class Antonio Gonzalez of 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, Bravo Company. "The crew was very supportive in getting the vehicles stowed aboard the ship. It has been an overall good experience and I look forward to another opportunity to be on board Mesa Verde."

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