According to Navy officials, amphibious assault ships are designed to deliver U.S. Marines and their equipment where they are needed to support a variety of missions ranging from amphibious assaults to humanitarian relief efforts
Designed to be versatile, the ship has the option of simultaneously using helicopters, Harrier jets, and Landing Craft Air Cushioned, as well as conventional landing craft and assault vehicles in various combinations.
“Being on board an LHD, I get to experience almost everything the Navy has to offer all in the same day,” said McMinoway. “I can watch jets and helicopters take off from our big deck, then walk below and see Landing Craft Air Cushions with humvees and small crafts full of Marines enter and exit from our well deck. We have the opportunities of a large ship but the atmosphere of a small one. From the weather decks, I can see some of the most advanced technology on the waterfront ready to defend our ship, and from the same spot, I can watch boatswains mates handling line the same way sailors did at our Nations birth. We really have it all.”
Though there are many opportunities for sailors to earn recognition in their command, community and careers, McMinoway is most proud of the people they have met.
“I’ve heard the military makes friends for life, but I didn’t realize how deep it ran,” said McMinoway. “I’ve made friends in every state and country that I could call after 20 years no contact and they’d still be on a plane to help within hours no questions asked. You really don’t make friends in the Navy, you make family.”
As a member of the U.S. Navy, McMinoway, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.
“Serving in the Navy means sacrificing your comfort and freedoms for the comfort and freedom of others,” added McMinoway. “One of my best friends in the Navy once said, ‘that which we support and defend is not what we live in’. That stuck. Serving means my family and friends get to enjoy the parts of life I love and envy most while far away, cold, wet and tired. I work next to my brothers and sisters in the dark places of the world to make sure everyone back home gets to enjoy the American dream that I love and envy.”