The better way to travel

The better way to travel

by Lance Cpl. Damion Hatch
3rd Marine Division

Traveling throughout the Marine Corps can be a hassle. You will be on a plane with little to no leg room or a giant truck packed like sardines, but there is a way to travel that can be both comfortable and enjoyable.

The USNS Guam, a high-speed transport vessel (HST), is a ferry type vessel that can carry a maximum of 866 passengers, 21 crew members and can even reach up to 35 knots. The ship was originally created as a Hawaiian super ferry, but in September 2010 the ship was bought by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration. In 2012 the ship was transferred over to the U.S. Navy. The Navy uses the ship to carry troops and equipment from Okinawa to their intended destination.

Compared to other means of transportation, the HST is a force to be reckoned with. The ship has a cozy feeling to it and has plenty of amenities including TVs, plugs to power electronics, and showers. The seats are comfortable and can recline just enough to get good sleep, but that doesn’t stop the Marines of Tango Battery, 5th Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division from finding a nook or cranny to sleep in. The USNS Guam may be nice but there are some cons to this mode of travel.

The time it takes to travel to your destination is much longer. If you were to travel from Okinawa to Mainland Japan though military air, you would arrive at your destination in a couple of hours. Another con would be sea sickness. If you don’t have a strong stomach you might get nauseous. Although there are some cons to the mode of travel, it is still more enjoyable than the other means of transportation.

The Ship is large and has large amounts of leg room. The ship gives a commercial airliner feelling. I sometimes imagine myself being 30,000 feet in the air as my seat was one of many rows and had food trays coming out the back of it. If you need to get up and stretch your legs, you can do so without disturbing the person to your left or right. The back of the boat has a balcony where you can go and get some fresh air and enjoy the view of the ocean. The USNS Guam takes care of the passengers aboard.

Now if you look at the pros and cons of traveling through military air you will probably agree. Military air may be faster, but a C-130 can only carry 92 passengers not including cargo. The seats are a weird kind of red netting and you are usually packed right next to your buddy. The bathroom is in the back and only has a citron to conceal you from the other passengers. When it comes to military travel the HST takes the cake.

Military travel can feel like a long and uncomfortable task, whether you travel on a plane or ship. But when you travel aboard an HST, you may enjoy your travel. Just sit at a table, pull out an MRE, turn on some music and eat your meal with your brothers and sisters.

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