15th MEU News
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Marines and sailors with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group dance during a steel beach picnic held on the flight deck of the USS Peleliu, Jan. 1. The picnic was an opportunity for the blue-green team to relax at sea with food, drinks, music, football, boxing, tanning and socializing for the servicemembers who have been working hard since they left San Diego, Sept. 17. The 15th MEU is deployed as part of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group as a U.S. Central Command theater reserve force, providing support for maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

Photo by Cpl. John Robbart III

Expeditionary team holds New Year’s celebration on flight deck

1 Jan 2013 | Cpl. John Robbart III

USS PELELIU – The area that is home to CH-46E Sea Knights and a host of other aircraft was used for a different purpose, Jan. 1.

Marines and sailors with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group held a steel beach picnic on the flight deck of the USS Peleliu, which was an opportunity for the blue-green team to relax at sea. The picnic included food, drinks, music, football, boxing, tanning and socializing for the servicemembers that have been working hard since they left San Diego, Sept. 17.

The event was also a chance for the unit to bring in the new year based off San Diego’s time. Navy Capt. John Deehr, commanding officer, USS Peleliu, and Col. Scott D. Campbell, commanding officer, 15th MEU, counted down to 2013 with their Marines and sailors during the event.

“Happy new year everyone,” said Deehr as he addressed the attendees. “In about 45 seconds we will countdown to celebrate the new year with our families back home. We’ve had a very good year in 2012, and I want to thank everybody for the hard work they did over the past year with [pre-deployment training] and the first four months of our deployment. I wish all of you a highly successful 2013.”

The servicemembers lined up on the flight deck where the officers and senior enlisted served traditional picnic fare to all in attendance. Buckets of ice held sodas and Gatorades, and chairs sat near the stern of the ship for the Marines and sailors to soak up the sun.

“This was a cool way to boost morale,” said Lance Cpl. Gerry C. Craft, rifleman, Security Platoon, Maritime Raid Force, 15th MEU. “They had good music and food. It was nice to be able to wear casual clothes, and it allowed everyone to relax for a while,” said the 23-year-old native of Glasgow, Ky.

The event also helped build camaraderie within the unit.

“A lot of Marines and sailors don’t get the opportunity to leave the ship,” said Lance Cpl. Andrew C. Newmark, automatic rifleman, Security Platoon, MRF, 15th MEU. “This got a lot of people outside to get some fresh air and sun. It was also nice to see the officers and senior enlisted serving food and mingling with their Marines and sailors,” added the 20-year-old native of Big Bear, Calif.

After filling up on food and soda and getting adequate sunburns, the Marines and sailors returned to their daily duties for another day on the ocean.

The 15th MEU is deployed as part of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group as a U.S. Central Command theater reserve force, providing support for maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

15th Marine Expeditionary Unit