CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marines with Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force conducted amphibious operations aboard the USS Rushmore during exercise Steel Knight, off the coast of California, Dec. 8-11.
Steel Knight is an annual exercise that allows 1st Marine Division to test and refine its command and control capabilities by acting as the headquarters element for forward-deployed Marine Air Ground Task Forces.
H&S Company boarded USS Rushmore before Company B, 3rd AABN, and Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment to prepare the ship, load gear and maintain their equipment on board.
Corporal Michael Muellerleile, a motor transport operator with H&S Company, said H&S Marines are crucial to accomplishing any mission whether it’s training or combat operations.
“We make sure that the Marines are getting where they need to be and getting all of the supplies they need to stay in the fight,” Muellerleile said. “That’s everything from chow and fresh water to ammunition and medical gear.”
While the motor transport operators and mechanics conducted functionality checks on their vehicles, the company’s radio operators began setting up a satellite communication network.
Staff Sgt. Anthony Gammons, a radio chief with H&S Company, explained the importance of having communication between the ship and other units.
“This is going to be our battalion commander’s direct link to all of the ground forces and to Fire Base Gloria, which is the Landing Force Operation Center,” Gammons said. “Without this, our commander wouldn’t be able to make any decisions for all of our forces in the field, which would be very detrimental in any operation.”
Even though the Marines of H&S Company have many different jobs, once aboard the ship they come together to accomplish daily tasks. Many of the H&S Marines pick up tasks while on ship to make life better on board such as mess duty, combat cargo and various duty positions.
“A lot of people don’t really think about the little necessities that come into play when you are living on a ship,” Gammons said. “For example, think about how bad it would be if we didn’t have some Marines take over on mess duty and make sure our mess hall was sanitary and well taken care of. That would lead to serious problems with health and ultimately, mission effectiveness.”
While many of these tasks can be very laborious and time consuming, the H&S Company Marines jump to their positions eagerly, Muellerleile said.
“The Marines that I work with are really hard-working and they never stop,” he said. “They don’t argue, they don’t complain, they just do it with speed and intensity because they know it is necessary.”
The speed and intensity keeps the Marines of H&S Company ready as they train to take on operations in any clime and place.