USS PELELIU --
Former President Jimmy Carter visited the USS Peleliu, piered at U.S. Naval Station San Diego, to learn about the capabilities of the Navy-Marine Corps team Mar. 3.
John H. Dalton, former Secretary of the Navy and Vice Admiral Gerald R. Beaman, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, were also among the distinguished visitors. Approximately 250 members of the Carter Center visiting San Diego from all over the country were able to see the capabilities of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group first-hand. For many of the visitors, it was the first time they had been aboard a U.S. naval ship.
“I wanted to see the might of the fleet, and it's quite impressive," said Dr. Taras Filenko, musician and member of the Carter Center.
Upon arrival, the visitors were given a tour of the ship and caught a glimpse of the capabilities a Marine Air Ground Task Force has to assist with humanitarian and defense efforts.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Riviera, an electrician’s mate with the USS Peleliu, was a tour guide during the visit.
"It's good to show the public what we do," said Riviera. "I enjoyed showing them the ship and letting them know a little more about our daily lives."
Marines and sailors from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and the USS Peleliu supported the visit with static displays of tactical vehicles and aircraft, weapons and equipment, and answered any questions the visitors had.
“The training of the Marines and sailors who met us, and the officers as well, has been an overwhelming experience for us,” said Carter. “I've tried to think of the most difficult questions to ask the Marines. So far, I haven't succeeded in asking the Marines any questions that they didn't answer immediately. That also is a sign of great training, great dedication and great intelligence,” added the 88-year-old former sailor.
Selected Marines from the 15th MEU had lunch in the hangar bay with the visitors, as keynote speakers Dalton and Carter expressed their appreciation to the servicemembers for serving in America’s armed forces and praised the greatness of the modern day blue-green team.
“Today’s Navy and Marine corps, working together as a team for the Department of the Navy, [represents] the most formidable expeditionary fighting force the world has ever seen,” said Dalton.
Carter went on to express his gratitude to Marines’ and sailors’ service to their country.
“From the bottom of my heart I would like to say to all the Navy and Marine forces, thank you, you're doing your best,” said Carter. “This great ship, the USS Peleliu LHA-5, has distinguished itself by its service to this nation. These sailors and Marines here today continue to do that.”