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New Perspective, Appreciation Of Life At Sea
by U.S. Marine Corps Author
November 23, 2021

The U.S. Marine Corps consists of individuals who are first to fight in the air, land, and sea. U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Holden L. Mesimer was born in Salisbury, North Carolina, and is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) planning specialist with Plans, Policies, and Operations South. Mesimer continually looks for opportunities to improve his efficiency in completing his job.

November 16, 2021 - U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Holden L. Mesimer, a Marine Air-Ground Task Force Planning specialist for Plans, Policies and Operations Southat Camp Elmore, Norfolk, Virginia has a new perspective and appreciation of the life at sea by fellow Marines, including the limited amount of space they share. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Jack Chen)
November 16, 2021 - U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Holden L. Mesimer, a Marine Air-Ground Task Force Planning specialist for Plans, Policies and Operations Southat Camp Elmore, Norfolk, Virginia has a new perspective and appreciation of the life at sea by fellow Marines, including the limited amount of space they share. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Jack Chen)

“With our military occupational specialty (MOS), we see the basic commands and requirements.” Mesimer continued, “Especially at a force command you see it in the system from regiments, divisions, and assigned designated supplies for their demands.”

As a MAGTF planner, Mesimer designs plans, policies, and functions for operations from various units. MAGTF planners track data from units as they deploy and redeploy then briefs situations and missions to higher enlisted and officers. He spends most of his day utilizing the Joint Operational Planning and Execution Systems (JOPES) to carry out the missions of the combatant commander.

However, the use of the JOPES software limited Mesimer's opportunity to actually experience the Marine Corps outside of his office. To further understand his responsibilities in planning and execution, Mesimer participated in his first tour aboard a naval ship, the USS Gunston Hall at Norfolk Naval Station.

“Being able to go on the ship for the first time I enjoyed seeing the capabilities, culture, and life aboard a ship. On the other hand, there’s about twenty Marines living in a single bedroom size space.” Mesimer stated, “Once being physically on a naval vessel, I saw the space they have to work with and their living conditions. Noticing the limited amount of space I gained a greater understanding of the demands the maritime operational forces have and the limitations to the space and resources they need.”

Marines with India Company, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, practice tactical reloads in the prone position aboard USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) on January 26, 2017 to increase weapon proficiency during Composite Training Unit Exercise. COMPTUEX is the 24th MEU’s final at-sea evaluation designed for Marines and Sailors to increase operational efficiency before deployment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Hernan Vidana)
Marines with India Company, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, practice tactical reloads in the prone position aboard USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) on January 26, 2017 to increase weapon proficiency during Composite Training Unit Exercise. COMPTUEX is the 24th MEU’s final at-sea evaluation designed for Marines and Sailors to increase operational efficiency before deployment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Hernan Vidana)

By touring a naval vessel, Mesimer realized how his MOS is more than a daily task and affects the life of the Marines and Sailors who venture underway. The tour aboard the USS Gunston Hall allowed him to learn about the lifestyle of the service members at sea. Mesimer now understands that life on a naval vessel is more difficult than what he had imagined.

“Being able to see the ship virtually and actually seeing the ship in person broadens my view of what actually goes into play when people and equipment get sent out.” Mesimer mentioned, “I now know how difficult of a lifestyle is for the Navy and Marines who are at sea.”

Understanding life on a naval vessel is not only a benefit to Mesimer, it also benefits the Marine Corps as a whole. Marines becoming more in tune with naval counterparts is an important step towards the U.S. Marine Corps Force Design 2030 which values the Joint Forces’ advantage to deploy at any time and place of our choosing. Force design 2030 prioritizes the cohesion of Marines and Sailors to continue our maritime traditions.

“I felt this trip was particularly important because it relates to naval integration and our culture in being an amphibious fighting group.” Mesimer continued, “...especially with Force Design 2030, it's a culture that should be embraced by the Marines”

Mesimer is grateful he took the opportunity to tour the USS Gunston Hall to expand his perspective of life at sea. Mesimer encourages Marines to take advantage of the benefits given to them to learn about their naval counterparts.

“Being next to the biggest naval station in the U.S. we should take advantage of the opportunities to get more experience living aboard a ship.” Mesimer suggested, “It's something all Marines should do.”

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