Commander of U.S. 3rd Fleet, addresses Marines and Sailors during a captain's call aboard USS Dubuque (LPD 8). 
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David McKee, USS Dubuque (LPD 8) Public Affairs

USS DUBUQUE, At Sea (NNS)
-- Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet told amphibious dock landing ship USS Dubuque (LPD 8) Sailors and embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Marines April 20 he is confident that they are ready to deploy in spring 2010.

"You have done the integration between Sailors and Marines which couldn't be more important. I feel very confident and comfortable in certifying that you are ready to go out and perform any mission required by you for your nation," said Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet.

Hunt addressed the crew of 800-plus Sailors and Marines at an all-hands call on the flight deck during his visit to Dubuque, which included a meeting with leadership, a tour and lunch.

In his speech, Hunt emphasized that the Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and MEU team possess a unique skill set no other aspect of the U.S. Department of Defense can deliver. According to Hunt, an ARG/MEU provides an incredibly valuable capability whether it is actual combat, military-to-military training, humanitarian assistance or disaster relief.

"This is a force multiplier for the nation. It is an asset we will use in a positive way to influence global events," said Hunt.

Following the all-hands call, Hunt toured the 43-year-old ship and met the crew firsthand. He visited critical spaces including the bridge, combat information center and the engine room. Along the way he talked to Sailors about their lives in the Navy, asked them where they are from and praised them.

"As I walked around and looked at the ship it is obvious the Dubuque team has performed magnificently. You have prepared the ship properly, not only in material condition but training-wise. By all accounts, you have done extremely well," said Hunt.

Hunt thanked the Sailors and Marines for their hard work. Preparing to deploy takes months of preparation that includes an inspection and training series before being certified to deploy. The recipe for this success, according to Hunt, was hard work, leadership, dedication and commitment to doing the job right.

"I find it particularly gratifying to take a look at where this ship is, the hurdles that you've gone through and the accomplishments you have made in preparation for the deployment," said Hunt.

The upcoming deployment will carry on a tradition of amphibious warfare that has its roots in the Mexican-American War. Hunt compared the importance this type of warfare has on national security today to that of ballistic missile submarines during the Cold War.

"I think that, in particular, as we move forward dealing with trans-national terrorism and violent extremism, that we will find more action comes from the sea, from an ARG/MEU, than just about any other way of projecting power," said Hunt.

Immediately following Hunt's departure, Capt. Christopher E. Bolt, the commanding officer of Dubuque, summarized the visit.

"From the rainbow side boys of air division and landing the helicopter safely, to the great questions at all-hand's call, to the condition of the ship and the professionalism of the crew, Vice Adm. Hunt was incredibly impressed. I've never been more proud of a military unit, especially a front-line unit ready to go into harm's way," said Bolt.

Hunt was joined by Commander, Expeditionary Group 3, Rear Adm. Earl L. Gay, and visited all three amphibious warships in the Peleliu ARG.

Dubuque is part of the Peleliu ARG that is led by Amphibious Squadron 3, and consists of amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), Dubuque and amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52).

For more news from USS Dubuque (LPD 8), visit www.navy.mil/local/lpd8/.
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