USS RUSHMORE - Many Marines and sailors have downtime while deployed with a Marine Expeditionary Unit. Some choose to use this time wisely by improving themselves and their peers.
While deployed aboard the USS Rushmore, servicemembers assigned to the 15th MEU found many ways to pass time while expanding their physical, mental and professional abilities.
There are a number of opportunities for Marines and sailors to spend their time productively on USS Rushmore. Servicemembers can work out in one of three gyms, check out books from the library, enroll in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, attend Corporals Course and even complete college courses. Some Marines and sailors just find a quiet place to do something they personally enjoy.
“I play the guitar and try to learn new songs during my free time,” said Cpl. Bernard Vu, field radio operator, 2nd Platoon, Battery B, Battalion Landing Team 3/5, 15th MEU. “Playing guitar kills a lot of time and keeps me occupied during times of boredom. It’s important to find something fun to do because you will go crazy if you don’t. I’ve always wanted to learn to play and this deployment gave me the time to pursue that goal,” added the 20-year-old, Lincoln, Neb., native.
Some of the most widely used spaces on the Rushmore are the gyms. Intertwined with the military lifestyle, members of Team Bullrush consider physical training a necessity.
“I try to workout at least five or six times a week,” said Cpl. James Parvin, scout sniper, Sniper Platoon, Weapons Company, BLT 3/5, 15th MEU. “Having the opportunity to be outside and workout is refreshing and a break from being stuck inside the ship. I like to stay productive. It helps the deployment go by faster. If I’m not working out, I’m reading, researching fitness and nutrition, keeping up with my family by phone or email and learning [military occupational specialty] related knowledge,” added the 22-year-old, San Angelo, Texas, native.
Many Marines choose to volunteer their free time to help others succeed. These include learning coordinators and instructors for college courses, MCMAP instructors, Corporals’ Course instructors and volunteers that participate in Military, Welfare and Recreation events.
“When I was a [private first class], I was always asking and trying to find an instructor to teach me MCMAP,” said Sgt. Andy Alonso, landing support specialist, Combat Logistics Battalion 15, 15th MEU. “I didn’t want that to happen to my Marines, so I decided to volunteer as a MCMAP instructor throughout this deployment. Before we deployed, we set three goals for my detachment. One was to get all of the Marines who wanted to belt-up in MCMAP to brow belt. We’re well on our way to accomplishing that goal.”
Sometimes Marines and sailors just want to relax, be entertained or socialize. The ship’s MWR department is there to provide that. The office organizes and conducts events meant to improve morale aboard the ship to include “steel beach” barbeques on the flight deck, bingo and karaoke nights, ice cream socials and holiday events on the mess deck.
Together, the opportunities provided aboard the USS Rushmore provide many chances for Marines and sailors to improve themselves as well as have an enjoyable and fulfilling deployment.
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.