Maj O: Out and about (one last time)
#1

Hello all,

You may have caught a comment or two on other posts, but I wanted to tell everyone about my latest (and last) trip on the MEU. We have been at sea for about a month now and have spent the time do exercise in the vicinity of Okinawa. The first two weeks was "get back together with the Navy" training called Amphibious Integration Training (AIT). We normally don't get that much AIT in the 31st MEU, but we were lucky to get it this time. Sometimes it's two days of some basic functions - not even ops - and then it's off to do our big exercise. If you are wondering, some of those "basic funcitons" are "splash and recoveries" when we launch the Combat Rubber Raiding Crafts (Little rubber boats - CRRCs) or the AMTRACKs. Another basic function is something called "Call-aways". This is when an an element of the MEU is called to be on "alert". Basically, elements that you have that are subject to be called to board aircraft or landing craft are things like the Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP - think Scott O'Grady), a reinforcing element (Bald Eagle - company reinforcement, Sparrow-hawk - platoon reinforcement), or a mass casulaty team (Nightengale). During some missions you have one or more of those on alert. Depending on the likelyhood of needing them, you may have them on Alert 120 or Alert 60, the number indicating the reaction time from call to launch. This is more complex then you might think. Once you call one of those groups to be on alert, they have to have their full kit, weapon issued, ammo issued, and get staged by serials for embark on what type of craft (normally aircraft) is available. They also need to know where to go and that isn't as easy as it would seem - especially if it is your first time on an Amphib (as in, amphibious ship). Alert 120 means they can be hanging out in the berthing and Alert 60 means they need to be "on the ramp" and they have to know that, too. I take the time to explain that because it is not something people would ever think about being something to even do, let alone rehearse.

So far we haven't done anything new necessarily so I have not been taking many pictures. That is soon to change.

In a couple of days, we are going to transfer to the USS Denver. This is because for the exercise we are doing, we are being subsummed into a larger unit. We are going to go from being a footloose and fancy-free MEU to being the Ground Combat Element (GCE) for a MEB. A MEB is like a MEU but it is based around a infantry regimental landing team (RLT) whereas a MEU is based around a battalion landing team (BLT). So that higher headquarters is kicking us out of the USS Bonhomme Richard (BHR) and we are having to displace to LSD 9 - the venerable USS Denver. The fact that it participated in Operation Frequent Wind (the evacuation of Viet Nam in 1975) when the ship was 7 years old should give you an idea of how long in the tooth the old gal is. As a matter of fact, she is the oldest ship still in use by the Navy. This is reflected in the fact that they generally don't spend a whole lot of dollars fixer her very often. Of course, as the commo, I still need to be able to get comm up - it's just going to be a challenge.

After that we go to Korea to participate in the exercise that is irking the North Koreans so much. I'll take lots of pictures there.

 

Anyway, I'm outta here - got a meeting to get to. Here's a pic of me in one of the Navy's MH-60 helicopters (the Navy version of the Black Hawk).

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#2

Todd,

Thank you for keeping us up to date on your movements. You have me very envious of all thats happening to you. During my 25 years with the Royal Air Force I never got to visit the Pacific and Okinawa, Midway and others have only been places I have read about in WW2 books. Korea should be interesting too!

Colin.

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#3

Major: Wow, you are one busy dude! All the acroynms should have most of our reader's heads spinning. :groan::P:nuts:

 

Thanks for all you do for US and the U.S.

:14_6_3:

 

Stay safe and "enjoy" your jaunt on the Denver. Lots of history there... Good luck with da comm!!! I know you can do it.

 

Great pic by the way. You look way too happy! :pdt12: :pdt12: :pdt12:

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#4

Here's some info on Denver (The D9).

 

595px-USS_Denver_LPD-9_Crest.png

 

Check out the history of 1975 at the bottom. What's notable:

1) the evacuation of Saigon - and pushing Hueys off the stern to make room for more.

2) Picking up Marines at White Beach, Okinawa to take Marines to Pohang for a landing exercise. Sounds vaguely familiar. . .

3) Was in Hong Kong for a port call and had to leave early to avoid a Typhoon. Also vaguely familiar. . .That happened last fall summer when we were on our last float!

 

Here's a picture of the venerable "Liberty D9ed" that I took from our ship at . . . you guessed it. . . White Beach!

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Maj Todd O. USMC, Retired
Grandson of LTC John O'Brien
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#5

Danka!!!

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#6

Well, I'm on the Denver and the comms are not very good. At least the ship is very accomodating and we are allowed to festoon the deck with our own antennas to make up for lack in capabilities. I'll send some pictures from Korea.

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Maj Todd O. USMC, Retired
Grandson of LTC John O'Brien
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#7

Ah, you were expecting that, so not a total surprise. Glad to hear they are being accommodating to the crew. Looking forward to hearing all the latest. Great pic! You look healthy and happy.

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#8

Secure for sea!!

I've got video that captures the roiling of the seas here much better, but it is pretty bad out today. Worse than I have ever seen in the last two years when not associated with a storm. Maybe when I am on a bigger comm pipe, I will upload it.

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Maj Todd O. USMC, Retired
Grandson of LTC John O'Brien
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#9

Wow!

 

And Thank You for sharing all of this and for all that you and your buddies do for us!

 

Jean

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#10

Thanks Jean!

 

Here's one called "CWIS by the Sea"

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Maj Todd O. USMC, Retired
Grandson of LTC John O'Brien
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