KUWAIT (March 5, 2014) - Marines and Sailors from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) conducted a vehicle wash down operation, March 1-5.
To many of the Sailors and Marines on board New Orleans, the wash down is a final step in preparation for their voyage home from an eight-month deployment.
“The wash down is a normal, scheduled part of any deployment,” said Staff Sgt. Gin Stalker from Combat Cargo. “We clean up all of the vehicles, cargo, galley, reefers, and even the pad eyes to pass customs inspection, so that we can load everything back on the ship and return home.”
The wash down evolution is one of the last checks before returning home and it is an essential step in ensuring the U.S. is protected from any kind of unfamiliar contaminate.
“Contaminates can be anything from particles, mineral, species not originating from our part of the world,” said Staff Sgt. Chad Burnett from 13th MEU. “We’re trying to prevent anything that could cause disease, sickness, or anything that might affect any plant, animal or person, from entering the U.S.”
New Orleans executed its vehicle and equipment wash down in five phases: planning, site establishment, wash down and maintenance operations, agricultural and quarantine inspections, and site clean-up.
After the vehicles were cleared, they were loaded back aboard New Orleans.
“It was worth the 35 hours of continuous work we did because it means we’re that much closer to home,” said Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Zachary Duval.
USS New Orleans is part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.