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Marines, Sailors have a day of fun at sea

ABOARD USS TARAWA (April 8, 2008) – Marines and Sailors from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Tarawa Expeditionary Strike Group enjoyed a day of fishing and swimming in the Gulf of Oman during their deployment through the Western Pacific Ocean and Arabian Gulf region.

11th MEU story by Staff Sgt. Sergio Jimenez

The ship’s Moral, Welfare and Recreation Office made fishing reels, tackleboxes and lures available after the ship’s commanding officer, Navy Capt. Brian E. Luther, authorized fishing off the side of the ship. A few lucky ones got a rare chance to ride and go deep-sea fishing aboard a Landing Craft Air Cushioned, a Navy hovercraft.

Some of the more daring swimmers were allowed to jump off the ship from a ramp 30 feet above the water. For safety reasons, only servicemembers who were qualified as advanced swimmers were allowed to participate. Marines from Reconnaissance Platoon, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 5th Marines and Navy lifeguards were on hand to ensure the well-being of the swimmers.

Those who took part the swim call will receive a certificate that shows the global latitude and longitude position of their “swim” as a keepsake and to share with their families.

The special day even included a baptism at sea. In a special ceremony, Lt. Cmdr. Perry Haagen, 11th MEU chaplain, baptized Petty Officer 3rd Class Aaron M. McCue, an aviation support equipment technician, into the Protestant faith in the well deck of the ship.

The swim-call comes just a few days after the Marines and Sailors took part in medical and construction goodwill projects in several villages and sustainment training near Camp Lemonier in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa March 29 through April 3.