Gidget Fuentes

About Gidget Fuentes

Gidget Fuentes is a freelance writer based in San Diego, Calif. She has spent more than 20 years reporting extensively on the Marine Corps and the Navy, including West Coast commands and Pacific regional issues.


Recent Posts By the Author


Marine ACVs Team with Japanese AAVs at Sea in Iron Fist Exercise

Marine ACVs Team with Japanese AAVs at Sea in Iron Fist Exercise

A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) soldier with 2nd Amphibious Rapid Deployment Regiment checks communication gear on an assault amphibious vehicle during exercise Iron Fist 2022 at White Beach, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Jan. 13, 2022. US Marine Corps Photo

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Smooth seas and an ebbing tide greeted Japanese and Marine Corps amphibious vehicle crews that zipped in and out of the Pacific last week, marking the first week of the annual exercise Iron Fist and a resumption of Marines’ waterborne operations. Read More

Marines, Japanese Ground Forces Link Up at Iron Fist for ACV, Amphibious Training

Marines, Japanese Ground Forces Link Up at Iron Fist for ACV, Amphibious Training

U.S. Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) soldiers with 2nd Amphibious Rapid Deployment Regiment render honors during the Japanese and United States national anthems as part of the Exercise Iron Fist 2022 opening ceremony at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 10, 2022. US Marine Corps Photo

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – The U.S.-Japan amphibious exercise Iron Fist will include waterborne training with the Marine Corps’ newest amphibious combat vehicles. Read More

Hearing Begins for Battalion Commander's Role in Fatal 2020 AAV Sinking

Hearing Begins for Battalion Commander’s Role in Fatal 2020 AAV Sinking

Marines with Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/4, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, operate an AAV-P7/A1 assault amphibious vehicle while embarking the amphibious landing dock USS Somerset (LPD-25) during training to increase Navy-Marine Corps interoperability in the eastern Pacific.

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – A board of officers convened this week to determine whether the officer who led the infantry battalion involved in the fatal 2020 sinking of an Amphibious Assault Vehicle should be discharged from the Marine Corps or allowed to continue to serve. Read More

Experts Criticize ATF, Navy Finding on Cause of Bonhomme Richard Fire; Case Against Sailor Pending U.S. 3rd Fleet Decision

Experts Criticize ATF, Navy Finding on Cause of Bonhomme Richard Fire; Case Against Sailor Pending U.S. 3rd Fleet Decision

A San Diego Federal Fire firefighter rests after combating a fire aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) on July 12, 2020. US Navy Photo

SAN DIEGO – An expert in electrical engineering told a Navy court that an electrical short in a forklift or some faulty batteries could have sparked the fire that ultimately led the service to scrap the former USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6), countering the Navy’s acceptance from a federal fire investigation that a disgruntled sailor deliberately set it. Read More

Witness' Identification of Sailor Accused in Bonhomme Richard Fire Comes Under Scrutiny

Witness’ Identification of Sailor Accused in Bonhomme Richard Fire Comes Under Scrutiny

Sailors and Federal San Diego Firefighters equip gear before providing firefighting assistance aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) on the morning of July 13, 2020. US Navy Photo

This post has been updated to correct the rank for Ryan Mays.

SAN DIEGO – One petty officer’s accusation against a shipmate is at the center of the Navy’s criminal case against the junior sailor charged with deliberately lighting a fire last year that caused the service to scrap the former USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6). Read More

ATF Investigator: Bonhomme Richard Fire Deliberately Set, No Direct Physical Evidence Points to Accused Sailor

ATF Investigator: Bonhomme Richard Fire Deliberately Set, No Direct Physical Evidence Points to Accused Sailor

Fire aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) at Naval Base San Diego on July 12, 2020. US Navy Photo

SAN DIEGO – The fire that eventually destroyed much of the former USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) likely was deliberately set to ignite cardboard boxes in a stowage area packed with assorted items that fire investigators ruled out as the ignition source, a federal fire investigator testified in a Navy court Monday.

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Hearing Begins for Junior Sailor Charged in USS Bonhomme Richard Fire 

Hearing Begins for Junior Sailor Charged in USS Bonhomme Richard Fire 

Sailors rest after firefighting on the morning of July 13, 2020 aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). US Navy Photo

This story has been updated to clarify that the Navy made the decision to scrap the former USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) last year, not earlier this year.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Navy prosecutors will make their case to a military officer this week as to why a junior sailor should be court-martialed on charges that he deliberately set the 2020 fire that eventually gutted the former USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) and intentionally put others in danger at Naval Base San Diego.

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U.S., International Marines Duke it Out in the California Desert

U.S., International Marines Duke it Out in the California Desert

Dutch Marines patrol through rubble during Marine Air-Ground Task Force Warfighting Exercise (MWX) 1-22 at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Oct. 24, 2021. US Marine Corps Photo

Marines of different nations battled it out in the desert, facing off recently in a five-day campaign that pitted technologically-skilled military forces against one another in a test of high-end conflict. Read More

Navy Opens Up Military Deep-water Pier to Merchant Ships to Ease California Cargo Crisis

Navy Opens Up Military Deep-water Pier to Merchant Ships to Ease California Cargo Crisis

The Navy in partnership with the Oxnard Harbor District (OHD) is providing resources onboard Port Hueneme in direct support of decreasing port congestion in Los Angeles County and reducing the national supply-chain shortage on Nov. 22, 2021. US Navy Photo

With Southern California seaports overburdened by commercial ships and pandemic and supply-driven delays in moving cargo, the Navy agreed to allow cargo-carrying vessels to use one of its military wharves at Port Hueneme, Calif. Read More