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Task force Marines integrate with Navy, provide security aboard USNS Burlington

US Marine Corps News

2 Oct 2020 | Courtesy Story Marine Corps Forces South

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Ten U.S. Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Southern Command teamed up with the U.S. Navy for an upcoming deployment aboard the Spearhead-class USNS Burlington (T-EPF 10) at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia, September 26.

The SPMAGTF-SC Marines will provide the USNS Burlington, a noncombatant vessel, service as an embarked security team, providing force protection for the deployment.

"Naval integration is a big part of this mission," said Maj. Drew Miller, embarked security team commander with SPMAGTF-SC. "It directly falls in line with the Commandant's Planning Guidance to ensure the Marine Corps incorporates more training and operations alongside the U.S. Navy."

The USNS Burlington, an expeditionary fast transport ship, is used to transport personnel and equipment in support of a variety of missions. The Burlington will support Planned Maintenance Availabilities of the Littoral Combat Ships deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations.

"SPMAGTF-SC leadership worked hard to move forward with the missions occurring in the U.S. Southern Command's area of responsibility under the COVID-19 restrictions," said Sgt. Andre Boyles, embarked security team training chief with SPMAGTF-SC. "We are all extremely grateful that we can assist."

The Marines quarantined themselves for 14 days and each received COVID-19 negative test results prior to arriving to JEB Little Creek. The isolation was to ensure that the task force is taking the appropriate mitigation measures to deploy a COVID-19-free team.

"We are excited about this opportunity to work with the U.S. Navy and execute a mission that not many Marines get to experience," said Capt. Daniel Kent, embarked security team supervisor with SPMAGTF-SC. "As a prior enlisted Sailor, I've spent a lot of time onboard ships and it's awesome that I'll get to share my experiences and knowledge with the Marines on the team."

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Marines and Sailors of the task force have continued their training schedule with precaution and have ensured the safety and well-being of the service members and their partner nations remained a priority.

"With our commandant's focus on naval integration, we all feel honored to be playing such a direct role in meeting his guidance," said Kent.

The remainder of the task force serves as the crisis response force assigned to U.S. Southern Command and is prepared and postured to deploy to the Latin American and the Caribbean region to work alongside partner nation militaries, enhancing combined crisis response efforts.

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