U.S. Marines with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment (3/2), 2d Marine Division (2d MARDIV) are prepared to provide support at a moment’s notice. Less than twelve hours after receiving orders, the Marines departed Camp Lejeune and set off to aid in COVID-19 relief efforts in New York City, New York, April 16, 2020.
The Marines received news they would leave the Camp Lejeune area the morning of their departure to support the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) alongside the service members of Task Force New York. Although the clock was ticking, the 3/2 Marines were ready and able to complete their mission.
“The training the Marines go through, whether officer or enlisted, instills that unknown factor and uncertainty,” said 1st Lt. Dylan Kreuger, a platoon commander with Lima Company, 3/2, 2dMARDIV. “Those training evolutions try to prepare for these opportunities because you never really ask when these things are going to happen.”
Lima Company’s role on the USNS Comfort is to provide security at the entry control points. They will screen visitors, vehicles, and monitor any suspicious activity while working with the New York Police Department (NYPD) and medical providers to ensure the ship is safe and secure.
“We are able to notice the anomalies,” said Lance Cpl. Jared Shacklefard, a rifleman with Lima Company, 3/2, 2d MARDIV. “But it’s good that the NYPD will be there because they know the norm for the people and the city.”
The Marines of Lima Company are the second wave of Marines to assist the USNS Comfort in New York. With one platoon already post outside the ship, the unit’s goal is to continue a rotation of Marines working for the relief effort. This reduces the amount of exposure any Marine may have to the virus.
This mission is unlike many of the operations 3/2 served previously. While most of the Marines’ training focuses on serving with allies overseas, the COVID-19 relief efforts give the Marines an opportunity to serve Americans on United States soil.
“It not the norm that we have to be in the U.S doing jobs that are different from our training,” said Lance Cpl. Matthew Schuyler, a rifleman with Lima Company, 3/2, 2d MARDIV. “But it’s an honor to help other Americans.”