Mobile legal team sets up shop underway
| | January 31, 2003
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. --
Three members of the Depot Staff Judge Advocates Office and one Marine reservist flew from Naval Air Station, North Island, to the USS Nimitz for a three-day training exercise Jan. 17-20.
The training exercise was to test the abilities of Capt. Bryan E. Cornelius, legal assistance officer-in-charge, Cpl. Manuel Acosta and Lance Cpl. Stan Wong, legal clerks, and Lt. Col. Daniel C. Herbert, legal officer, of the mobile legal team by setting up shop to draft nearly 500 legal documents in three days to include wills, powers of attorney and advanced health care directives for sailors aboard the USS Nimitz.
The legal team is prepared to deploy at a moments notice to any location in order to assist Marines with legal assistance issues, according to Cornelius. The exercise allowed the legal team to test its current procedures for helping several service members in a limited amount of time, while not sacrificing the quality of the work product. The Depot's legal team has also traveled to Miramar in order to help with deployment briefs and to recruiting stations.
The training exercise also served to bridge the gap between Navy and Marine Corps legal assistance as the United States continues military build up in the Middle East.
"This type of training is not unusual," said Chief Petty Officer Chris Browning, legal office manager, USS Nimitz. "This training was one further step in the right direction of working together on something as simple but as important as (wills and powers of attorney)."
Once the Marines landed aboard the USS Nimitz and the makeshift office was set up the legal team began seeing sailors.
"The Marines have been tremendous," said Browning. "They went above and beyond the call of duty and have done more than what we have expected of them from the word go."
By the completion of the training exercise over 160 sailors were seen according to Acosta.
"As far as the documents that we provided in the three days, we doubled and nearly tripled the amount that we normally see in a months time span," said Acosta.
The services provided by the legal team gave sailors some peace of mind.
"By doing this here and now, I don't have to spend time while at port taking care of (my will and power of attorney)," said Petty Officer 1st Class Darren D. Harden, aviation mechanic, HS 6 (helicopter squadron six), USS Nimitz. "It's a lot less stressful now knowing that my wife won't have problems knowing what I want."