Kearsarge receives holiday visit from SECDEF
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Ryre Arciaga, USS
Kearsarge (LHD 3) Public Affairs
ARABIAN GULF (NNS) — Secretary of Defense Ash Carter visited with
Sailors and Marines in time for the holidays aboard the amphibious
assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), Dec. 19.
During his visit, Carter shared his holiday message and appreciation to
the Kearsarge Sailors and Marines, presented medals during an awards
ceremony, and spoke on the vital role the ship has during deployment.
“It’s the holiday season and one of the reasons for being on Kearsarge
today is to say thank you from my family to yours,” said Carter during
an all-hands call in the ship’s hangar bay. “My wife Stephanie is here
with me and we want you to know that military life is a family affair.
Your families back home know that you’re doing the noblest thing you can
possibly do — serve our nation and make a better world for our
Accompanying Carter on his holiday visit to Kearsarge was the U.S. 5th
Fleet Commander, Vice Adm. Kevin M. Donegan, Commander Task Force (CTF)
51, Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Carl E. Mundy III and the U.S. Ambassador to
the Kingdom of Bahrain, William V. Roebuck.
Carter also addressed the role Kearsarge’s Sailors and Marines have
while deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations including the
ship’s support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
“Your mission, right here, right now, is very important.” said Carter.
“The gulf region is vital for maritime security and you’re supporting
several additional mission areas all at the same time. I’m also here to
accelerate our campaign to defeat ISIL and I’m confident we will do it.”
Operation Inherent Resolve is a coalition mission with partner nations
to conduct targeted airstrikes of Iraq and Syria as part of the
comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.
Capt. Larry Getz, commanding officer, USS Kearsarge, expressed his
gratitude for Carter’s holiday message and visit.
“The Kearsarge team was proud to host several senior U.S. civilian and
military leaders on board,” said Getz. “The Secretary ate lunch with our
Sailors and Marines and delivered a personal holiday greeting. The crew
heard first-hand on how our efforts here in the 5th Fleet area of
responsibility are making a positive impact in the region and around the
During the all-hands call, Carter presented Navy and Marine Corps
Achievement Medals to Aviation Maintenance Administrationman Airman
Alexandra Leon, Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Anthony Hildebrand and
Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Kelly Ralston. He also presented a
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal to Marine Corps Staff Sgt.
Michael Cole, Jr., of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s
“All of the awardees were honored to be recognized by the SECDEF today,”
said Ralston, from Spring Hill, Kansas. “Visits like today remind us of
the importance of what we do in service to our nation.”
Capt. Augustus P. Bennett, commander Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 4,
and commodore of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (KSGARG), had
staff members present during the event.
“The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group was pleased to host the U.S.
Secretary of Defense and his wife Stephanie,” said Bennett. “The Sailors
and Marines were elated by his visit and support for the upcoming
holidays. To hear how important our missions and operations are while
forward deployed to the 5th Fleet area of operations from the Secretary
of Defense was truly motivational. We remain committed to supporting
freedom around the world in this campaign to intensify and accelerate
the defeat of ISIL in Syria and Iraq.”
The KSGARG, comprised of the flagship Kearsarge, the amphibious
transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24), the dock landing ship USS
Oak Hill (LSD 51) and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed to
the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations conducting maritime security
operations and theater security cooperation efforts.