News: Marines settle into Navy’s territory
Story by Lance Cpl. Timothy Lenzo
PACIFIC OCEAN - The Marines of 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade find themselves in somewhat new territory. No, they aren’t behind enemy lines or in a far away land, though to some, it may feel that way.
The Marines are aboard USS Bonhomme Richard for Exercise Dawn Blitz. For many of them, this is a chance to interact with their Navy brothers and sisters.
“It’s not something we get to do every day, so it’s good to get to see what they go through,” said Cpl. Justin Ballinger a fire-team leader with Combat Logistics Regiment 17. “It’s good to see a different view of the Navy.”
Ballinger is teaching the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program each night during Dawn Blitz and opened the training to both Marines and sailors.
“Last night, we did grappling, and the sailors all participated,” said Ballinger a native of Salem, Ore.
The sailors have been game for much of the same training the Marines have done, earning them more respect from many of their Marine counterparts.
“I do have a lot of respect for them,” said Ballinger. “All of them have been very eager to come out and participate in MCMAP, and today we did the Tasers – there were probably more Navy personnel that volunteered to do it than Marines. It was good to see.”
The Marines can be found with their Navy counterparts throughout the day. Whether they are sitting together at chow, unloading cargo or trying to coordinate the training, both parties are learning more about the other.
“Marines come from a different makeup than a sailor does,” said Seaman Zachary Crisp, a radar technician aboard Bonhomme Richard. “Watching a Marine allows us, as sailors, to better form that teamwork and leadership that’s needed.”
While together on the ship, the different service members have used this opportunity to learn from each other.
“It lets our second and first class [petty officers] see this is how the Marine Corps does this. Let’s see if we can take some of their ideas and apply it to our shops and our work centers,” said Crisp.
It’s not just all work for these service members. They find time to interact during their free time as well.
“In the hanger bay everybody is mixing, everybody is mingling, we’re all talking, having a good time,” said Crisp.
Crisp has had the chance to view some of the training of Dawn Blitz and has enjoyed the opportunity.
“I’ve never seen flight ops, so I sat upstairs for about four hours watching choppers and Harriers,” said Crisp. “It’s awesome.”
While the Marines and Navy will always share in the rivalry between the different military branches, exercises like Dawn Blitz give them a new appreciation for each other.
“They’re just a great group of people all around,” said Ballinger. “It’s been a pleasure interacting with them.”