From 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit:
USS RUSHMORE – After spending a week at sea, Marines and sailors aboard the USS Rushmore, part of the USS Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group, were given a break when they arrived at U.S. Naval Station Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Many took the opportunity to relax on Hawaiian beaches or shop for souvenirs before continuing on their Western Pacific deployment.
The PELARG left the piers of Hawaii, Sept. 25, after spending a day resupplying, refueling and relaxing. The USS Rushmore, USS Green Bay and USS Peleliu will continue their deployment that began the week before.
“After we depart Hawaii we will head to the Western Pacific where we plan to conduct theater security cooperation exercises with foreign nations,” said Maj. Bryan Boyle, executive officer, Combat Logistics Battalion 15, 15th MEU. “Apart from training exercises, we also plan to provide humanitarian assistance with engineering, medical and dental aid to other nations.”
The servicemembers have a long float ahead of them as they travel thousands of miles west, but many of them are ready and well rested after spending some free-time on the tropical island of Oahu.
“It’s nice to have some time away from work every once in a while,” said Lance Cpl. Christopher Moore, field artillery cannoner, Battery B, BLT 3/5, 15th MEU. “I wouldn’t be able to go to Hawaii on my own outside the Marine Corps. The time we had in Hawaii made me look forward to future destinations,” added the 20 year-old Columbia, Mo., native.
An important aspect of mission readiness is troop welfare. Even a few liberty stops overseas can raise the moral of shipmates while they are underway and away from home.
“It’s good to have liberty ports. Everyone needs time to relax.” said Lance Cpl. Jeffrey C. Cook, fire direction controller, Battery B, Battalion Landing Team 3/5, 15th MEU. “I’m afforded the opportunity to visit foreign nations that I would normally not be able to go to. It makes the deployment far more enjoyable,” added the 20 year-old Orlando, Fla. native.
Besides being able to unwind, the troops took something more away with them while visiting Hawaii.
“Liberty is a good thing for Marines. Servicemembers are exposed to and learn about different cultures and those cultures are able to see our Marines and sailors and learn a little about us,” said Boyle, a 41-year-old native of Wilkes-Barre, Pa. “It also gives Marines a chance to relax and decompress from being at-sea for long periods of times.”
After spending the day docked, the Marines and sailors mustered on board the following morning before the ship pulled away from dock. They were rested, motivated, happy and ready to take on the challenges that awaited them.