View Full Version : SHIP LIFE: Marines learn Navy lingo while aboard USS Tarawa

07-18-04, 08:11 AM
SHIP LIFE: Marines learn Navy lingo while aboard USS Tarawa
Submitted by: MCB Hawaii
Story Identification #: 2004716194841
Story by Lance Cpl. Michelle M. Dickson

ABOARD THE USS TARAWA(July 16, 2004) -- ABOARD THE USS TARAWA -- When hundreds of Marines departed Pearl Harbor Naval Base for the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) training exercise, July 5, most had not experienced life on a ship before. Some had said their only familiarization with naval life had been learned from watching movies like "Titanic" or "The Hunt for Red October."

Presently, RIMPAC is shedding some light on what shipboard life is really like for so many who experience it every day.

"If you can get used to the constant rocking, you'll do okay," said Lance Cpl. Vance Grieger, a diesel mechanic with Combat Service Support Group 3, and part of the combat cargo crew here aboard ship. "Quite a few people had to get some medicine for that, but everyone has gotten pretty used to it now."
The Fort Worth, Texas, native was part of the initial party that flew to San Diego, then sailed back on the USS Tarawa to Pearl Harbor, before RIMPAC began.

"I've been on the ship for a few weeks now, and I really don't think I'd have a problem being on one for a long period of time," said Grieger. "Just being able to look at the ocean whenever you want makes it all worth it."

Those who stay aboard the USS Tarawa sleep in quarters called "berthing" areas, common knowledge for Sailors, but part of the learning curve for some Marines. The racks, or beds, are stacked one above the other, three high, and many service members can fit comfortably in each room.

"There are 53 Marines in the area I'm in right now," said Grieger. "Everyone gets along pretty well, though, and the air conditioning works, so I'm happy!"

A gym allows Marines and Sailors to get in their daily physical training, and a "galley," or chow hall, provides four meals a day for all.

"The worst part for me is that there is never one quiet moment aboard the ship, no matter what time of the day or night it may be," said Sgt. Ida Gilbert, a combat cameraman here, assigned to the Combat Visual Information Center, Headquarters Battalion, back at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay. "A person can never get a moment alone. Everyone seems to be adjusting pretty well over all, though."

Fellow service members provide entertainment, as there are not always exciting events taking place aboard ship. For example, Saturday was "Karaoke Night" when anyone could sign up and sing to win during the contest.

"It was a fun time," said Gilbert. "It was nice to just relax for a while and enjoy where you are."

During the RIMPAC exercises, Marines are taking part in everything from raids to a noncombatant evacuation operation, or NEO, along with the Royal Australian Army.
RIMPAC will wrap up for Marines on or about July 22.



07-18-04, 08:12 AM
Marines and Sailors aboard USS Tarawa get motivational lift
Submitted by: MCB Hawaii
Story Identification #: 2004716195326
Story by Lance Cpl. Michelle M. Dickson

ABOARD THE USS TARAWA(July 16, 2004) -- ABOARD THE USS TARAWA -- "There was never enough time in a day for anything out there," said Capt. Andrew J. Kressin, staff officer for 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. "In Iraq, you were either patrolling your area, or doing what you could to help the people over there who needed it."

The Beloit, Wis., native just returned from a six-month deployment to Iraq where he held the billet of advisor to the Iraqi Army. He spoke with Marines and Sailors who are taking part in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) training exercise aboard the USS Tarawa, July 10.

"I couldn't wait to get out there when I found out I was going," said Kressin. "And since returning, I know that the experience was everything I wanted it to be."

During the deployment, Kressin's main objective was to build up the Iraqi army, and train it to be more equipped to fight, he said. The soldiers tackled a four-week boot camp run by civilians, then undertook the small infantry training package that lasted approximately four weeks, which Kressin and other Marines taught.

"One of the rough spots we hit during the training was the language barrier," said Kressin. "Our interpreters knew only basic English conversation, so we learned as much Arabic as we could to make things easier. We worked through it."

The soldiers learned everything from patrolling to firing a variety of weapons, along with military inspections and drill techniques.

"They really gave it their all the whole time," said Kressin. "They want to do the right thing, and we knew they always had our back out in the firefights," he added, stating that dealing with the lack of corruption was a big adjustment for the Iraqi soldier.

"There was a lot of unit cohesion out there," said Kressin. "Strong bonds were built so quickly with the Iraqi people, and good friendships."

When not putting Iraqi soldiers through training, Marines carried out various presence patrols through cities, and medical and dental civic action programs, or MEDCAPs, that allowed for community relations bonding with local children, as well as snatch-and-grab operations - when they hit a house and captured wanted individuals.

"They loved getting their picture taken," said Kressin of the community relations opportunities. "I remember [the local children] were always fascinated when they could see themselves on the digital screen."

Kressin departed for his new duty station of Parris Island, S.C., July 12. Although chances of him returning to Iraq are slim, he said he would go back in a heartbeat.

"You woke up there, everyday, knowing you were making a difference," he explained. "It really matters what we do between battles. Marines are professionals, and it really shows over there."