News: British Royal Marines Tour Wasp
NORFOLK, Va. – The partnership between the United States and the United Kingdom has been one of shared military, economic, political, and cultural ties since World War II. This partnership continued onboard USS Wasp when a group of 60 British Royal Marine officers toured the ship July 19.
“The marines are currently attending the British Infantry Officer School in the U.K.,” said U.S. Marine Maj. Chris Pritchett, who helped coordinate their visit. “Right now, they are in the U.S. to integrate with the American version of this course at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. Their visit to Wasp was to help train them on amphibious operations.”
During their tour, the marines visited Wasp’s hangar bay, mess decks, medical facilities, Marine troop berthing, Landing Force Operations Center, Combat Information Center, and Tactical Action Center. At each stop, their tour guide explained to them the importance of these work spaces to the completion of Wasp’s overall mission.
“Having the British marines learn about how a ship like Wasp operates enhances interoperability between our two militaries, so that when we serve together in theater, we’ll have a mutual idea of how we both conduct business,” Pritchett explained.
For the Royal marines, touring Wasp meant being exposed first hand to the multitude of capabilities that the U.S. Navy brings to any potential battlefront.
“Most of the ships in the Royal Navy don’t have nearly the amount of functions that Wasp has,” said British Royal Marine 2nd Lt. James Smith. “Wasp also has a much bigger crew than most of our ships, although the LFOC and CIC are similar to what we have. It’s good to see the similarities and differences.”
“Wasp combines the capabilities of two or three ships from our navy,” added 2nd Lt. Jacob Parsons, another of the British Royal Marines who toured Wasp. “It has the ability to land both helicopters and fixed wing aircraft on its flight deck. On most of our ships, it’s usually one or the other.”
For some Wasp crewmembers, the visit by the British marines serves as a reminder of the strategic importance of the U.S.-British alliance.
“I believe that any orientation that our allies get with regards to our capabilities is a benefit in the long run,” said Chief Warrant Officer Bryan Simon, Wasp’s combat cargo officer. “They see how we do business and how our assets support the war fighter; it tends to build those ties that are crucial when the balloon goes up.”
After touring various U.S. Navy facilities during their month-long stay in this country, the British marines said that they now have a greater appreciation for the tremendous assets their American allies bring to the often shared battlefields of their respective nations.
“In the shear scale of your logistics, your fleet is much larger and has more assets than any other in the world,” said British Royal Marine 2nd Lt. Sam Bolam. “Simply put, your navy is quite impressive.”