ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Sailors aboard amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) and Marines assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are working together to complete training during an Amphibious Ready Group/MEU Exercise (ARG/MEUEX) in the Atlantic Ocean, Dec. 2.
The three-week exercise is designed to prepare the ship and Marine unit for a deployment which requires successful integration to accomplish the mission.
Carter Hall Commanding Officer Cmdr. Timothy Carter emphasized the importance of teamwork during ARGMEUEX in order to certify the ship and MEU for its upcoming deployment.
"It's an exercise that gets us to work as a team, develop our skill sets, and understand our limitations and how we can work with those limitations to be able to become a better unit and a better force," Carter said. "Every [amphibious ship] was designed to put Marines on the beach -- to be able to deploy Marines. We all have an important role."
Throughout the exercise, the crew will launch and recover Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC), exhibit visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) capabilities, deploy amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) ashore, and complete other mechanized infantry training exercises designed to further train its warfighting capabilities.
"This is all part of the training, building that teamwork and building that trust amongst each other so when we deploy we know how to recover, how to launch these craft out of the well, and work together," Carter said.
Carter said he is very proud of the teamwork which has already been displayed during the underway.
Marine Capt. Taylor S. Morawski, 24th MEU commander of troops, said the relationship between the Navy and Marines is what makes these operations successful.
"We can't do any amphibious operations with just the Navy or just the Marine Corps," Morawski said. "If you don't have a good relationship in the blue and green team, then you're not going to succeed. That's probably the overall thing that makes things work."
Morawski said the ability for the Marines and Sailors to work cohesively, from loading the ship to making sure the ship is in good position to move amphibious assault vehicles, while taking security into account, will also have an important impact on mission success.
There are 400 Marines aboard Carter Hall. Morawski said ARG/MEUEX is the first time many of them have been underway.
"A big thing for us is getting a lot of our guys who have never been on a ship used to what ship life is like," Morawski said.
Lance Cpl. Andrew Cummings, AAV crew man, said this is his first time aboard a ship.
"I'm used to solid ground, that's for sure," Cummings said. "You have to definitely work a lot different."
Cummings drove an AAV off and back onto Carter Hall during a training evolution by receiving signaling communication from Sailors in the well deck aboard the ship.
"When you come up to the back of the ship, (the Sailors) give you the green light to come on," Cummings said. "Then right when you get on, they start ground-guiding you and getting you into place; especially when you get in a tight spot, they definitely make sure you fit."
Cummings said he has talked with a couple Sailors with whom this is their first experience having Marines aboard.
"With it being my first time dealing with it on a ship as well, I don't think the communication could have been any better," Cummings said. "It was definitely successful."
Carter Hall is underway with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group for ARG/MEUEX.
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