The Challenger Division and Training Ship Columbia rented a couple of vans and drove to the LCAC unit at Camp Pendleton. The Landing Craft Air Cushion Assault Craft Unit 5 welcomed the cadets and staff.

NC1 William Heffernan escorted all to a classroom. There, he, GSCS Roger Berdugo and HT2 Robert Mayfield spoke about their jobs in the Navy. The cadets learned how the LCAC operates. NC1 Heffernan explained that the LCAC’s can carry tanks and other equipment as well as fully equipped personnel.

Cadets listened intently as the sailors told about their careers in the Navy and the deployments they had completed. They were told of how Marines and Naval Sailors work cooperatively to ensure the success of the mission ahead. They learned how the LCAC would be stocked up with the needed equipment & personnel for the mission and then it would be launched and driven out to meet the ship, which could be 10-20 miles off the coast. The Marines would then become part of that crew for the duration of the mission.

The cadets then went into the field and got up close andpersonal with an LCAC. They explored the operating chairs, the fans, the engine room, etc… They even got to touch a piece of the balloon that was being repaired! The highlight for many was the horn. Believe me, it was loud!!!

They then walked to the bleacher area, where family and friends sit when their loved ones are returning from a tour. They were told about the ramp. The ramp is 6 degrees- until it hits the 30 degree line. The tower, at the end of the ramp by the water, is always manned when there is a boat in the water. On the walk back to the building, they were dwarfed by the enormous hoist that is used in repairing the LCAC’s.

Once back in the building, the cadets got a tour of the gym, conference room and wardroom. But the staff at Assault Unit 5 had another surprise for the cadets. They set up the simulators and the cadets, and staff, shot M-16’s and M-9’s.

The staff at Assault Craft Unit 5 told the cadets that they were welcome to return at any time. The Challenger Division/TS Columbia cadets and staff thoroughly enjoyed the tour and are thankful for the staff who welcomed them and took time out of their day to teach us about the LCAC.

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