The USS Gunston Hall is preparing to pick up Marines in North Carolina before deploying to Central and South America for several months to work with allies in the region.
The Navy said the dock landing ship is scheduled to leave Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story on Monday. The Gunston Hall will bring aboard Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., before continuing south to Latin America.
The Gunston Hall will be visiting countries in the Caribbean, Central America and South America from July to September, according to U.S. Southern Command. The ship will focus on operating in a multinational environment, being ready to deal with unconventional threats, such as illicit trafficking, and improving training levels, U.S. Southern Command said in a statement.
The Gunston Hall also will make several port visits that are designed to promote goodwill in the region and participate in UNITAS LIX, an annual multinational maritime exercise, the Navy said.
During its deployment, the Gunston Hall will have a combined U.S. and partner nation staff aboard that includes representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Ecuador, who will plan and lead the mission, the Navy said.
© 2018 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)
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