FW PEV: 3/2 Marines participate in Fleet Week Port Everglades

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, UNITED STATES

05.07.2017

Story by Sgt. Anthony Mesa

II Marine Expeditionary Force

 

A loud “Hoorah” split the air as 135 Marines, most from 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, responded to a customary “Roll Call,” marking the beginning of a long week that was Fleet Week Port Everglades, at Fort Lauderdale, Fla., May 1-7, 2017.

The efforts of fleet week – which included more than 60 events for the Marines participating -- sought to familiarize the local community with the Navy and the Marine Corps, as well as provide a series of community relations events, such as school visits, guided tours, and fishing trips, all hosted by Broward Navy Days and various other military supporting organizations.

“Fleet Week was a great opportunity for our Marines to showcase to the public, specifically the great people of Fort Lauderdale, what we are about,” said Maj. Mark Greenlief, 3/2 executive officer and the detachment commander during Fleet Week Port Everglades. “Throughout the week, we were greeted with open arms and support, the likes of which we haven't seen. The appreciation and support from the Broward Navy Days, Broward County Sherriff's Office, Fort Lauderdale Police and Fire Departments, and all of the people who hosted our Marines throughout the week left an indelible mark on each Marine.

“They went in with high expectations and left completely satisfied. It is important for us to participate in these types of events because we are able to give back to the people who support us and give our Marines the opportunity to interact with the people of Fort Lauderdale,” he added. “Throughout the week -- from the school and hospital community relation events to the ride alongs with the Sheriff's department to the fishing trips on the ocean -- Marines displayed a level of professionalism, gratitude, and commitment expected of our Marines. We seized every opportunity to support those that support us and the personal relationships made will last a lifetime. It was a great event that will forever have a stamp on these Marine's lives.”

The Marines agreed.

“Honestly, it was a great time for me and my Marines,” said Sgt. Timothy Vanderzwaag, an anti-tank missileman and platoon sergeant with 3/2. “We spent a lot of time just showing people what the Marine Corps is about while enjoying the events that they were kind enough to set up for us. It’s nice to know that they care and want to give back.”

The ‘giving back’ came in many forms; from complimentary meals, to a chance to see the Miami Marlins play at their home stadium.
Though the week consisted of a lot of smiles and fun, the week also was a time for reflection.

“The most important events throughout the week were the community relation events and the ships tours,” said Greenlief. “Through the community relation events we were able to give back to the community and show a personal face to the Marine Corps.

The Marines visited schools to share their experiences in the Corps, and visited veteran’s hospitals to listen to the experiences and challenges of the men and women who came before them.

“I liked talking to the vets,” said Lance Cpl. Riley Wilson, an assaultman with 3/2. “Talking to them really kind of opened my eyes a little to what we do here day to day. These are people who have lived through some of the toughest stuff a person can be called to do. Fleet Week isn’t just for us, it’s for them too.”

For the veterans and civilians who could travel onto the ship, the USS New York was set up and ready for daily ship tours where they and their families could see some of what the Navy and Marine Corps had to offer.

James Federici, a veteran of the Navy was able to make it on ship through the Honor Flight Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to transporting America’s veterans to visit various memorials in order to honor their services and sacrifices.

“It’s nothing like when I was on a ship in 1943, it’s a beautiful thing, there is nothing like it,” said Federici.

This is the purpose of fleet week; to show our service members where we have been, to show the community who we are, and to show our communities and those who have previously served, where we will be headed in the future.

“Interactions with kids at school, with veteran's in hospitals and American Legion posts, and with the organizers of the events left a positive impression both ways -- allowing us to showcase the ideals that set the Marine Corps apart,” said Greenlief. “Additionally, during the ships tours and displays we were able to showcase how we fight -- showing civilians the real reasons why we are ‘First to Fight' and ‘America's 911 force.’”

Dropping Mortars with 2/6

CAMP LEJEUNE, NC, UNITED STATES

02.08.2017

Story by Sgt. Anthony Mesa

II Marine Expeditionary Force

 

 

“Hanging on one!” “Fire!”

The shockwave and sound of heavy explosive rounds being fired from an M252A2 81mm mortar system is enough to make most people jump. The Marines of Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment didn’t even flinch as they sent rounds downrange in the G-10 impact area in support of Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Atlantic’s Joint Terminal Attack Controller qualification training at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 8, 2017.

The training was designed for the Marines who are qualifying to be JTACs to work at being able to safely and efficiently direct air support in tandem with ground support mortar and artillery fire. 2/6 helped fulfill some of the ground support capabilities by running marking and suppression firing missions.

“[The JTACs] are able to see the rounds impact and then they are able to use our smoke on deck as marking for aircraft,” said Cpl. Aiden Sullivan, a forward observer with 2/6.

The mortar Marines spent a lot of time preparing for effective fires during their coordination, but when the time came, and the missions were called, the Marines of 2/6 acted swiftly and efficiently to fulfill the firing missions of the Marines with EWTG LANT.

While training with explosives and aircraft, communication is always key.

“If we don’t learn how to work together,” said Sullivan, “then that really provides friction between the various units in the field because then the [JTACs] wouldn’t be able to effectively employ 81 mm mortar systems.”

“It’s important for us to be out here supporting them because they need the experience of actually using live rounds in conjunction with their air support” said Sullivan, “ we can’t fire with aircraft over head of us, without potentially impacting those aircraft so it’s important for the JTACs to be able to let the pilots know when they are safe to return to the impact area.”

The opportunity to work with EWTG LANT is a chance for the Marines of 2/6 to train some of their new Marines who haven’t had as much training and as well to work on their integration.

“I really like coming out here” said LCpl. Chase Ferguson, a mortarman also with Weapons Co. “Shooting with EWTGLANT is pretty slow sometimes but it really helps to show the new guys in Weapons Company how we integrate with other combat units, whether they are air or ground units, or even naval guns.”

The Marines of 2/6 will continue to drop rounds downrange, as they train and work with various units In the future.

Marine Recieves 2015 GOMA Award

CAMP LEJEUNE, NC, UNITED STATES

12.22.2016

Story by Sgt. Anthony Mesa

II Marine Expeditionary Force

Sergeant Jake Mettam, an amphibious assault vehicle mechanic with Headquarters and Service Company, 2nd Amphibious Assault Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, was presented the Ordinance Noncommissioned Officer of the Year 2015 Ground Ordinance Maintenance Association award at Camp Lejeune, N.C., December 12, 2016.

The award is presented annually to one lower enlisted personnel, NCO, Staff NCO, and officer to highlight their actions and impact within the ground ordinance maintenance military occupation specialty. Mettam was one out of the 1,700 marines eligible to receive the award.

“That was my competition, you know, to beat out every single other ground ordinance Marine, not just AAV mechanics, but also optics, the armory, machinists, basically everyone in the 2100 field of MOS’s,” says Mettam.

“It’s surreal. I was told that I was being submitted but I never thought − I never thought I’d get it. And it’s kind of humbling,” said Mettam. Sitting down with him face to face, it is easy to understand his merits.

“Any time I see a deficiency I try to jump on it and work with that person that’s in charge of that, or just take care of it on the spot; it’s easier that way and I just do every single thing possible to help correct it.” Mettam explained, “I don’t try to focus on doing one specific thing, because I don’t think I can be as effective if I’m just good at one thing, like working on an engine, or if I’m just good at troubleshooting something; so I try to keep my spectrum pretty broad.”

“He’s definitely a hard charger,” says Master Gunnery Sgt. Don Ream, the 2nd AABn chief. “He’s definitely got a lot of initiative and he’s a soft starter, meaning he doesn’t need to be told. He sees the need; he fills the need. That’s how he operates.”

In the case that Mettam can’t provide the best quality control available, he will certainly do the best he can to rectify a problem until it can be worked on properly.

“We were in 29 palms, out in the middle of the desert for training,” remembers Mettam. “During the operation we were doing, we didn’t have the availability to be running parts back and forth because of where we were…One of our AAVs had a cooling fan issue; their whole entire cooling fan drive system basically blew up, and we didn’t have all of the proper equipment to repair it… so my staff sergeant and I scrounged around the desert for about an hour, and we found a piece of scrap aluminum. I stayed up until around 2-3 in the morning just grinding away until it fit. We put it all back together and it was awesome; the fan worked and we were able to get them back on the road to finish the operation.”

Mettam, who has been in the Marine Corps for seven years and hopes to one day become a warrant officer, has the overflowing drive to overcome any obstacle in his way. This ‘Jack of all trades; Master of none’ is fittingly the embodiment of the GOMA Award.

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