Quebec -- Marines aboard the USS Oak Hill interacted with the Quebecois, the province’s local population, during the city’s Rendezvous Naval de Quebec June 13 – June 16, 2014. The locals were invited to a tour of the ship with an explosive ordnance disposal static display and Marines available to educate tour groups on the structure of the Marine Corps and the capabilities of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force.
First Lieutenant Owen Trotman, the executive officer of Supply Company, 2nd Supply Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, knew the history of Quebec and the Quebecois local traditions and dinning. He taught the Marines basic French phrases, cultural differences between the province of Quebec and other Canadian provinces, and detailed some good food and tourist attractions within the city.
“Going to Quebec has been a great experience for the Marines and Sailors that are aboard the Oak Hill,” said Trotman. He has participated in two other amphibious operations including Bold Alligator in 2010, a multi-national littoral warfare exercise hosted by the United States. The large scale amphibious exercise involves more than 10,000 Marines and focuses on our ship-to-shore movement.
“Living on the ship is a different experience. The way you eat, sleep, and live all are different from your normal day-to-day routine,” said Trotman. “It’s a positive experience. It’s important that our Marines get underway, interact with our sister service, and learn about our partner nations while abroad.”
Lance Cpl. Devin Patlan, a finance technician with Headquarters and Service Company, CLR-27, was one of the tour guides provided to educate participants.
“I was really impressed with the amount of respect that we got once we were out in town,” said Patlan. “The fact that the locals and the Canadian service members showed us respect during our stay really means a lot to me.”
While Marines were out in town it gave them an opportunity to talk and interact with people from a different walk of life.
“The people of Quebec got to see the real side of these Marines and Sailors and not just what they hear about on the news,” said Trotman. “I feel as if the Quebecois got to see the other side of the Marines during the stay. They understand from watching the news that there is no worse enemy than a Marine and, during our stay, they realized there is no better friend.”
While on the tours, the Quebecois learned about the Marine Corps’ Marine Air-Ground Task Force and what the Sailors do aboard the USS Oak Hill.
“The tours were a chance for the Quebecois to see just how technical the Marine Corps can be,” said Trotman. “They were excited to meet and interact with members of our Explosive Ordinance Disposal team.”
The EOD team had a static display that included a bomb suit, examples of improvised explosive devices, and a functioning robot used to help diffuse bombs. The display provided the Quebecois an opportunity to see a small fraction of combat capabilities within the Marine Corps.
The Rendezvous Naval de Quebec left a lasting experience on most of the Marines and Sailors aboard the Oak Hill and granted some of America’s finest to enjoy Quebec City’s culture, food, and local hospitality. As the Marine Corps returns to its amphibious roots, Marines and Sailors alike will continue to value a mutually beneficial brotherhood and the privileged chance to experience new cultures, educate and inform foreign audiences, and represent the United States Marine Corps.