View Full Version : Fort McHenry Sailors, Marines Make Waves in Well Deck

07-11-03, 05:57 AM
Fort McHenry Sailors, Marines Make Waves in Well Deck
Story Number: NNS030709-23
Release Date: 7/9/2003 5:21:00 PM

By Journalist 3rd Class Stephen Haynes, USS Fort McHenry Public Affairs

ABOARD USS FORT MCHENRY, At Sea (NNS) -- After onloading elements of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force and getting underway June 28, Sailors aboard USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) welcomed their new shipmates by holding a swim call.

By ballasting the ship down, or staging a controlled flood in the ship’s well deck, there was a virtual swimming pool in the space where amphibious vehicles normally roll off the back of the ship.

“I thought it was a great opportunity for us to take some time off and enjoy our day,” said Fireman Andrew Frazier of Fort McHenry’s engineering department. “For the Marines and Sailors, it was good to have some bonding time while we continue on with our mission.”

As crew members were enjoying themselves in the water, they were secure in knowing Fort McHenry’s Search and Rescue (SAR) swimmers were on hand to aid anyone that got into trouble.

“We were looking out for the safety of the crew, just to make sure nobody got hurt or drowned,” said Signalman 2nd Class (SW) Charles Sardono of Fort McHenry’s deck department.

“I really liked it. It was pretty neat. I've never seen anything like that,” said Lance Cpl. David Roberts of combat cell battalion headquarters and services. “I didn’t think I would be doing that when I joined the Marines, so the whole experience was really interesting.”

The three-hour swim call allowed most crew members to take advantage of the rare opportunity provided by the unique structure of the amphibious ship.

“It was so much fun, after being underway for two days and having all that stress, this was what the ship needed to relax,” said Seaman Jorge Luis Acevedo of Fort McHenry’s deck department. “It made me really want to get up the next morning and go to work after such a good time.”

“Events like this greatly increase the morale of the crew," said Ensign Shane Durkee, Fort McHenry’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation officer. “It’s good to break up the every day monotony. It allows you to do something exciting. A swim call in the well deck is a very unique thing.”

Fort McHenry is a dock-landing ship permanently forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan, as a part of the USS Essex (LHD 2) Amphibious Ready Group.