News: Camp Lejeune Marines wrap up deployment in Central, South America
Story by Cpl. Alicia R. Leaders
ATLANTIC OCEAN, USS Iwo Jima – For four months, Continuing Promise Marines attached to the Logistics Combat Element used their brain, brawn and expertise in constructing a better place for Caribbean, Central and South American citizens in eight countries.
Marines with Combat Logistics Regiment 25, CLR-27, 8th Engineer Support Battalion and 2nd Maintenance Battalion with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force CP10 worked side-by-side with Navy Seabees building roofs, playgrounds, bathroom facilities, drainage systems, fences, storage huts and cement platforms in Haiti, Costa Rica, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Guyana and Suriname.
“Continuing Promise is a demonstration of American compassion,” said 1st Lt. Padriaca A. Prude, the officer in charge of the Logistics Combat Element with Combat Logistics Regiment 25. “When we go out in these countries and provide humanitarian assistance, I think it’s a very moralizing experience for the Marines. They get to go out and do their job in unique environments and make a difference.”
In addition to providing engineering support for CP10 some LCE Marines helped bridge the language barrier between CP10 medical staff and the patients they rendered care to. About ten Marines from the LCE served as translators to help understand and execute the needs of the people in each country.
“We wanted to make sure everyone got what they needed simply by talking to them,” said Cpl. John H. Michel, from Orlando, Fla., Creole translator and electrician with 8th ESB. “Being a translator gave me the chance to lend a hand to the people of my country and the people I work with. I feel like I made a difference for the people I met, and I am happy to have been deployed to support this mission.”
Aside from personnel going ashore in each country, Marines and sailors worked together in supporting 1,600 personnel aboard the ship. Approximately 30 Marines from the LCE were augmented to maintain shipboard operations such as mess duty, combat cargo, disbursing, laundry and postal services.
“It’s been a while since Marines have been on a ship, and this deployment gave them the opportunity to reach back to their naval roots,” said Gunnery Sgt. Felder Domond, native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and staff non-commissioned officer in charge of the LCE.
During the deployment, Marines were able to experience life on ship, focus on their job skills and increase their skills as a Marine, said Prude.
“Overall, I’m just really impressed with my LCE Marines and it was an honor to serve with them,” said Prude. “This deployment has been a chance of a lifetime, and I know I’ll remember it above all others.”
For more information on the Continuing Promise 2010 Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force, please visit the unit’s official website at http://www.marines.mil/unit/2ndMAW/SPMAGTF.