News: Combat cargo embarkation prowess sets Marines, sailors up for success
USS SAN ANTONIO, At Sea – Former president Harry Truman once stated, “The buck stops here.”
Combat cargo assistants, Gunnery Sgt.’s Anthony Acosta, Trinity Lizalde and Staff Sgt. Robert Fiske believe in that statement and any embarkation or debarkation of personnel or equipment from the USS San Antonio goes through them.
The combat cargo assistants are in charge of a 30-man platoon, which is comprised of every element of the ship, both Navy and Marines.
Acosta, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native, explained that combat cargo facilitates the embarkation and debarkation of the Marine Corps’ landing force. He continued to say that aboard an amphibious ship “nothing would move without combat cargo.”
Due to numerous testing and various repairs, the USS San Antonio has not had a full Marine Corps unit aboard in nearly three years. As one of the first ships of its kind, the San Antonio is considered the future of amphibious movement and assault. With the Marines aboard for Exercise Bold Alligator 2012, the ship’s crew and Marines will be able to reestablish the relationships needed to operate as a single naval amphibious team.
“Some of the sailors have been on the ship for three years and have never seen Marines with their equipment aboard the ship,” said Fiske, adding that this exercise allowed those Sailors and Marines to relearn their amphibious roots.
During Exercise Bold Alligator 2012 combat cargo loaded the cargo bay of the USS San Antonio with tanks, recovery vehicles, 7-ton vehicles and humvees, all of which support the Marine Corps’ mission during the exercise.
“Although the ship and its crew have not been involved in operations for a while,” Acosta said, referring to the lengthy amount of time since a full Marine Corps embarkation, “there weren’t any unexpected issues, or anything that couldn’t be resolved.”
Although the complications encountered weren’t unusual, the Navy and Marine Corps team was afforded a rare opportunity to work with the French engin de debarquement amphibie rapide, which is an amphibious transport vessel used by the French military to move assets from ship to shore. This experience was a first for many sailors and Marines, from the ship’s captain to the junior Marine guiding the 7-ton truck onto the EDAR.
In addition to the embarkation duties of the combat cargo Marines, they actually work for the ship directly and serve as permanent Marine Corps liaisons between the ship and boarding Marine Corps units. Some of their extra duties include maintaining the nearly 150 designated Marine Corps workspaces, according to Lizaldi, a San Antonio native.
Combat cargo had everything in place for the Marines when they boarded, and with the USS San Antonio loaded and ready to support an assault at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., for Exercise Bold Alligator 2012, they will get the opportunity to see their embarkation plans full circle as the Marines debark the ship.
Date Posted:02.08.2012 15:38
Location:USS SAN ANTONIO, USAFRICOM, AT SEA
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