USS DENVER --
Marines with the Amphibious Assault Vehicle platoon, Battalion Landing Team 1/7, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted operations between two ships of Amphibious Squadron 11 at sea, Sept. 7.
The AAVs traveled between the USS Denver and the USS Harpers Ferry to conduct training that increased the proficiency of Marines and Sailors and enhanced Navy-Marine Corps teamwork.
“We are taking part in this exercise to allow our Navy counterparts to do their qualifications, and we are assisting them with our AAV maneuvers,” said Cpl. David Jackson, vehicle commander, AAV platoon, BLT 1/7. “We are going to board another vessel, allowing the Navy personnel to direct us in with hand and arm signals, lights and flags.
The exercise assisted the Navy personnel by providing a training event working with the AAVs, said the Mesa, Arizona native.
“We are operating at sea in order to qualify the Harper’s Ferry crew on well deck operations with AAVs,” said 1st Lt. Ramon Deleon, platoon commander, AAV platoon, BLT 1/7, 31st MEU. “This enables us to train in water operations on US Navy shipping and it also gets them qualified for when we might have to use their ship in a real-world situation.”
The AAVs traveled over six nautical miles, in open ocean, in order to traverse between ships.
“There are many benefits to working together,” said Deleon, a native of New York, N.Y. “It enhances our ability to work with the ships, gives us a foundation of amphibious operations and also strengthens our Navy-Marine Corps team.
“This is a great experience for all Marines involved, especially for our junior Marines, to get out and do this training,” said Cpl. Sean Griswold, driver, AAV platoon, BLT 1/7, 31st MEU.
“It is very hard to leave our families behind,” said Griswold, 24, of Albany, Oregon. “I hate to leave my wife and loved ones, but I have a job to do here to help protect our nation. I look forward to getting experience in my job and learning new skills to be a better man and a better husband for when I get home.”