The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit passed from U.S. 7th Fleet to U.S. 5th Fleet today, putting all three of the Navy’s deployed battle groups in the Middle East.
While transiting through the Indo-Pacific region, USS Makin Island (LHD-8) and the rest of its ARG/MEU participated in Keen Sword 17 with Japan, Tiger Strike 16 with Malaysia and a theater security cooperation engagement with Sri Lanka, among other international engagements. The amphibious ships departed San Diego on Oct. 14, passing through U.S. 3rd Fleet area of responsibility and into the 7th Fleet for these international engagements. The ARG/MEU will continue that type of work in the Middle East, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.
“Our Navy-Marine Corps team capitalized on every opportunity to work with our partners and allies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region as we exercised the spectrum of our amphibious capabilities,” Capt. Mike Crary, commander of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5,” said in a Navy news release.
“This team put their training to work and proved their capabilities in 7th Fleet, and I am confident they have the training, determination, and teamwork necessary to accomplish any mission that comes their way as we head into the dynamic 5th Fleet operating area.”
“These Marines and Sailors clearly understand the importance of working with our partners and allies to learn from one another, enhance capabilities, and strengthen relationships,” Col. Clay C. Tipton, commanding officer of 11th MEU, said in the news release.
“When faced with unforeseen events, the team came together to overcome the challenges of real-world situations and I couldn’t be prouder of their performance. Once again, the Navy-Marine Corps team proved its unique ability to put Marines ashore, accomplish the mission, and return to ARG shipping without the use of a secured base, seaport, or airfield.”
The Makin Island ARG, which includes amphibious transport dock USS Somerset (LPD-25) and dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD-45), joins the Wasp ARG and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group in 5th Fleet. USS Wasp (LHD-1) has been in U.S. 6th Fleet and northern 5th Fleet areas of responsibility, while the ships in its ARG operated lower in the 5th Fleet AOR and into the Indian Ocean. The Ike CSG is supporting Operation Inherent Resolve air strikes against the Islamic State.
According to the Navy’s “Status of the Navy” web page, all other big-deck amphibs and aircraft carriers are docked in their homeport or operating in local waters.