By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steve Watterworth
NORFOLK – A 2012 Jefferson High School graduate and San Francisco, California, native is serving in the U.S. Navy with Assault Craft Unit TWO (ACU 2), one of the Navy’s most advanced amphibious warfare units.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Leo Bundalain is a boatswain’s mate with the group operating out of Virginia Beach, Virginia.
A Navy boatswain’s mate is responsible for the operation and upkeep of the unit’s boats.
“We see and do things that you can’t experience as a civilian,” said Bundalain.
Bundalain credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in his hometown of San Francisco.
“My dad told me to always look out for yourself,” said Bundalain. “You are the owner of what you say and do.”
ACU 2 is one of the components of Naval Beach Group TWO (NBG 2).
Commissioned in 1948, just after World War II, NBG 2 trains and equips military forces for deployment overseas. Sailors with NBG 2 serve a vital role in the Navy our nation needs by ensuring that amphibious operations remain ready to defend and protect America at all times.
ACU 2 operates landing craft, which are specialized to transport personnel and equipment from surface ships to shore. The LCU is a displacement craft capable of carrying a payload of more than 170 tons. The LCU can be used to transport weapons systems, cargo and personnel of Marine assault units. The current LCU fleet has been in naval service since the late 1960s. Gun mounts on the craft can support .50 Cal machine guns, M240 machine guns, and 40mm grenade launchers.
The exercises and real-world operations that ACU 2 sailors participate in include evacuation of American citizens from a hostile territory, delivery of food and medical supplies after a natural disaster, and many other tasks that involve movement from ships off-shore to the beach, according to Navy officials.
“Our small boats are different from the ships that deploy and get the notoriety. We do things that are of lower visibility, but no less important,” said Bundalain.
Jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the command running smoothly, according to Navy officials. The jobs range from operating boats to maintaining engines and handling weaponry.
“The Sailors, Chiefs, and Officers of Assault Craft Unit 2 work in conjunction with other Naval Beach Group elements to grant our Amphibious Ships heavy lift and over-the-horizon, extended-duration ship-to-shore movement with the Landing Craft Utility and Maritime Pre-positioning Force boats,” said Cmdr. Thomas Mays, commanding officer, Assault Craft Unit 2. “We are proud to do our part in the Navy-Marine Corps team to project power or provide sustained assistance as needed around the world.”
Though there are many ways for a sailor to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Bundalain is most proud of being promoted to second class petty officer.
“People rely on me for direction, knowledge, and leadership now,” said Bundalain.
While serving in the Navy may present many challenges, Bundalain said they he has found many great rewards.
“I put family first. You see many sailors who are also parents here. It inspires me to be better and more well-rounded,” said Bundalain.