The guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) conducted a personnel exchange with the amphibious dock-landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), Oct. 5.
Jason Dunham traded four ensigns and three enlisted crewmembers for three ensigns and six enlisted crewmembers from Gunston Hall for a day in an effort to familiarize junior Sailors with other platforms in the Navy.
“I’ve been on Jason Dunham since its commissioning. Destroyer life is all I’ve ever known in the Navy,” said Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Drew Miller. “Going to Gunston Hall, I got to see almost every operation a Boatswain’s Mate can do in the Navy. It really opened my eyes and I wouldn’t mind going to an LSD for my next sea tour.”
Gunston Hall personnel visiting Dunham expressed similar thoughts.
“I was excited when I heard we would have the opportunity to cross-deck for a day. Gunston Hall is the only ship I’ve ever been on, and I’ve only been there for a few weeks, so it was a great experience for me to see how another type of ship operates,” said Ensign Austin Clouse, Gunston Hall’s operations electronics division officer.
The Sailors spent the day touring the ships, witnessing daily operations and discussing similarities and differences in their jobs with their counterparts.
“It was interesting to see that although we have different warfare areas, different missions. We’re not really all that different in how we go about accomplishing those,” Clouse said.
Since Gunston Hall has a lot of equipment operated by boatswain’s mates to get Marines ashore, it offered Miller and others who visited with him the chance to see what the BM experience is like on amphib.
“I got to witness crane operations and learn about well deck operations, things we don’t have on a DDG [guided-missile destroyer],” Miller said.
Dunham Sailors who visited Gunston Hall felt privileged for the opportunity to visit. While they observed many differences, the “cross-deckers” came away with the notion that there were more similarities than differences.
“Some things are different, but besides age [Jason Dunham is newly commissioned and on her maiden deployment], size and a few hundred Marines, I’d pretty much be doing my job the same way here as I do on Gunston Hall,” said Quartermaster Seaman Shelby Mahle.
Dunham is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations and is supporting missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Naval Today Staff, October 09, 2012