Region Legal Service Office Southeast (RLSO SE) first tour judge advocates – Lt. Katie Gorski, Lt. Alyssa Williams, Lt. Bobby Walsh and Lt. John Kelley – had the opportunity to go underway with the amphibious transport dock USS New York (LPD 21) January 10-24, 2017.
It was a very busy two weeks, as the judge advocates observed small boat operations; the loading and unloading of various amphibious vehicles, including the Landing Craft Air Cushion, the Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo, the Landing Craft Utility, and the Assault Amphibious Vehicle, as part of well deck certifications; and helicopter landing and takeoff qualifications. They toured a wide array of spaces and departments aboard the ship, including the bridge, well deck, hangar bay, engineering, aft steering, and communications. They also observed a damage control exercise in which a Class B fire was simulated in the engineering department. While aboard USS New York, they provided legal support to their gracious hosts. They set up a temporary legal assistance office aboard the ship to help clients with wills, powers of attorney, and other legal issues. They also provided a legal assistance workshop that was available to all hands, where Sailors could learn more about the services the Navy provides them and their families. They also provided various briefs to the junior officers.
Gorski and Williams briefed the juniors officers on the differences between major JAG practice areas, and Walsh and Kelley briefed them on ethics and Article 31(b) rights. Gorski, Williams, Walsh and Kelley found their time aboard USS New York to be incredibly rewarding. They learned a great deal about how the surface Navy operates, and about the Navy’s impressive amphibious capabilities. They return to RLSO SE with deeper knowledge about the Sailors the JAG community serves, broader experience of the unique challenges of practicing law at sea, and definitely a little saltier.