PACIFIC OCEAN --
Plainclothes role players carrying instruments of peril, from fake IDs to bombs, attempted to gain entry through points aboard USS New Orleans here during a drill Dec. 5.
The actors, Marines serving with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, challenged the amphibious transport dock’s sailors who were training to protect the lives and equipment on board.
Lance Cpl. Thomas Kegley, a 24-year-old team leader with Company L, said that having Marines as role players added a sense of realism to the drill and enabled the sailors to conduct the exercise in a professional manner.
“Marines always play a little more aggressively,” said the Burlington, Wis., native. “It helped the sailors be aggressive and stern as well.”
Company L is one of three rifle companies with Battalion Landing Team 3/1 – the MEU’s ground combat element.
Sailors emulated real-life scenarios by searching suspicious role players and communicating with the ship’s leadership.
Chief master-at-arms Edward Mendoza, leading the drill, said the realism was important for ship safety.
“My priority is the safety of the ship. We need to make sure we can protect it,” said Mendoza.
The unit embarked USS Makin Island, USS New Orleans and USS Pearl Harbor in San Diego Nov. 14, beginning a seven-month deployment to the Western Pacific and Middle East regions.