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Face of Defense: Marine Bridges Communications Gap

By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Karen Blankenship
Amphibious Squadron 11

SOUTH CHINA SEA, Nov. 5, 2012 – Marine Corps Capt. Benjamin Leatherbury, a communications officer, was promoted Nov. 2 while serving aboard amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard on deployment here.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Corps Capt. Benjamin Leatherbury is promoted by Navy Capt. Cathal S. O'Connor on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, Nov. 2, 2012. The Bonhomme Richard is part of a U.S. Navy group currently operating in the South China Sea. U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Lacordrick Wilson

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Leatherbury, the officer-in-charge of the Marine Communication Detachment from Expeditionary Strike Group 7 and commander of Task Force 76 aboard the Bonhomme Richard, works to ensure the integration of the Marine Air Ground Task Force’s communication structure into the ship’s existing communication system.

“Our main responsibilities are keeping the Marines’ spaces operational for communications when they come on board,” Leatherbury said. “For example, if an antenna on one of the ships used by the Marines does not work, we work to ensure the blue side is working on the issue and follow up until the problem is solved.”

Leatherbury, an Indianapolis native, graduated from Indiana University. He said that he joined the Marines because he wanted to serve his country and to travel and see the world.

“I like being around Marines and the cohesiveness of a disciplined unit,” he said. “After working in a joint environment, I now have a much better appreciation for the camaraderie that Marines have.”

Leatherbury said he enjoys his job and plans to stay in the Marines for a few more years. He added he would eventually like to become a foreign area officer.

“I like the challenge and difficulty that my job presents, and I like working with the extremely bright people who are in my field,” Leatherbury said. “They do some pretty amazing work and many outside the field don’t realize what goes into making even the basic communications work.”

The Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group, commanded by Navy Capt. Cathal S. O’Connor, is made up of amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Tortuga and the amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver. The group is currently operating in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.


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