USS Harpers Ferry
"First In Freedom"
File Photo. 160519-N-VS214-270 GULF OF AQABA (May 19, 2016) The dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) conducts amphibious operations off the coast of Jordan. The crew of Harpers Ferry is part of about 3,000 U.S. military personnel – representing USCENTCOM headquarters and its components – who will participate in this year’s bilateral exercise, exercise Eager Lion 16, with the Jordan Armed Forces. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zachary Eshleman/Released)
Building a Partnership aboard Harpers Ferry
JAVA SEA (NNS) -- Five inflatable boats carried 20 members of the Indonesian Marine Corps from the mountainous backdrop of southwest Indonesia to amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) to conduct a subject matter expert exchange with U.S. Sailors and Marines, Aug. 1.

"Operations like these continue to build strong bonds between nations and their militaries through cohesive learning and by breaking down barriers of diversity that normally separate us," said Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan Nentl, an assault amphibious vehicle crew chief for the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

During the exchange, held in Harpers Ferry's well deck, Marines discussed amphibious operations, techniques and equipment for safely and efficiently landing marine forces on a coastline.

After the Indonesian service members arrived, 1st Lt. Eric Berman, Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV) platoon commander, started the exchange by explaining U.S. methods for the command and control of AAVs while conducting ship-to-shore movements.

"They are a highly motivated group of individuals who were very interested in learning about our AAVs, our tactics, techniques, and procedures, and they were very excited to work with us," said Berman. "[This event] shows the Indonesians that the U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy are committed to our partnership."

Next, the group received an orientation for the AAV itself. The Indonesian Marine Corps uses a lighter version of the AAV called the Landing Vehicle, Tracked Personnel 7 (LVTP-7), so they were very interested in seeing the different version aboard Harpers Ferry.

"The Indonesian Marines set a great example of professionalism and attentiveness," said Nentl. "They all seemed eager to learn about what it is we do and how we conduct amphibious operations."

The event concluded with both Marine Corps singing their service hymns in a moment that reverberated throughout the entire well deck.

"This exchange of information was very important because of both the knowledge gained and the relationship between countries and militaries," said 1st Infantry Battalion Operations Officer Maj. Harmoko who oversaw the Indonesian Marines. "I hope to be able to do this again in the future."
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