We went for a ship visit to the USS Peleliu. It is named after a World War II battle in the Pacific. It is a kind of mini-aircraft carrier. Helicopters and Harrier Jets can land on the decks, as you can see in the picture above and below, and it supports Marine operations on shore. You can see some pictures from the ship up and around this page.
This was the first time that I met Marines projecting power from ships. This was the traditional Marine role, but in recent times they have been deployed in the deserts and mountains of Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the Marine colonels commented that there are Marines in their second or third tours that have yet to do any real amphibious actions. This would never happen a generation ago. Marines are supposed to be amphibious.
We were invited on board by the commander of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, the one we were doing the exercise with. We had a really good lunch. I sat next to the Commodore. I remember Commodore Perry, but I didn’t think they still had commodores and they don’t when it concerns the actual rank. Fuller is a Navy Captain doing the job of the Commodore. He coordinates the movements of the ships and forces from the three ships involved with the exercise.
Above is the hospital aboard the ship.