New York Supports BATARG, 26 MEU with Onload

Story Number: NNS191030-09Release Date: 10/30/2019 3:02:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Lyle Wilkie, USS New York (LPD 21) Public Affairs

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (NNS) -- Marines are a big part of the mission of the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21). In order to get the Marines where they need to go, vast amounts of vehicles and supplies must be onloaded, and the New York did just that, Oct. 11, 2019.

It didn’t just fall on the Marines to onload the equipment. It took a coordinated effort from both Marines and New York Sailors, or better known as the “blue-green team,” to get everything aboard.

“We onloaded over 1,190 short tons of cargo as well as over 580 Marines and Sailors through the port onload, [landing craft, air cushion] LCAC operations and air operations,” said Staff Sgt. Jacob Morlitz, the combat cargo assistant aboard New York. "In reality, the cargo we onload is a piece of a much larger footprint that supports the [marine expeditionary unit] MEU across the entire Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).”

The 26th MEU, Assault Craft Unit 4, combat cargo, deck, engineering and air departments aboard the New York all take part in this coordinated effort.

“During an onload it is a constant crossover of [the] green and blue side,” said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Shelby Eby, a New York Sailor. “Deck and combat cargo are constantly loading, moving, and gripping all equipment that comes onboard.”

Despite the number of Marines and Sailors it takes to successfully complete an onload, filling up the belly of the New York beast can take more than just a couple hours.

"A full onload, when planned correctly, can be executed in about six to 10 hours depending on the size of the onload," said Chief Warrant Officer 3rd Bernard Hall, New York’s Boatswain.

Although the Marines and Sailors can make the evolution seem effortless, experienced service members say an onload is no walk in the park.

“It’s a stressful evolution where you always have to keep your head on a swivel and it will mentally and physically wear you out,” said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Justin Plank, a New York Sailor.

To help alleviate that stress and ensure the safety of all Sailors and Marines, New York has qualified safety observers placed throughout the well deck and on the pier for the evolution.

“I make sure vehicles and personnel are safely conducting their mission,” said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Robert Walton, one of the safety observers. “This is to ensure that we move the cargo and people aboard as safely and efficiently as possible.”

Despite the long hours and safety hazards, Marines and Sailors involved in this evolution say they take pride in knowing they are trusted, in such a little time, to have the New York ready to do whatever the ship is called to do.

“Every onload is rewarding knowing that we are prepared and ready at any given moment for anything the world wants to throw our way,” said Plank. Another combat cargo Marine reflected a similar sentiment.

“It makes me feel proud, when you look at the big picture,” said Cpl. Ryan Vanness. “It makes you think that if we were not doing our jobs, the 26 MEU could not be capable of deploying.”

New York is underway conducting a composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) as part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.


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