USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: Aug. 21, 2017

August 21, 2017 10:09 PM - Updated: August 22, 2017 6:57 AM
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These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of Aug. 21, 2017. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the map reflects the location of the capital ship.

Total U.S. Navy Battle Force:


Ships Underway

Deployed Ships Underway Non-deployed Ships Underway Total Ships Underway
49 33 82

Ships Deployed by Fleet

3rd Fleet 4th Fleet 5th Fleet 6th Fleet 7th Fleet Total
0 2 25 16 53 96

In the Eastern Pacific

Chief selects run in formation during a 5k run on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Aug. 17, 2017. US Navy Photo

The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group continues its Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) in the fleet training areas off of San Diego. Along with USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), the CSG includes the Carrier Air Wing 17, cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG-52), and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Halsey (DDG-97), USS Higgins (DDG-76), USS Preble (DDG-88) and USS Sampson (DDG-102).

The Composite Training Unit Exercise is usually the first time all elements of a Strike Group – ships plus air wing – come together in preparation for deployment.

In Singapore

Guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) at it steers towards Changi Naval Base, Republic of Singapore following a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC on Aug 21, 2017. US Navy Photo

USS John McCain (DDG-56) is pier-side at the Changi Naval Base after a collision with a Liberian-flagged chemical tanker in the Strait of Malacca early in the morning of Aug. 21. The collision injured five sailors and 10 are missing.

The America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are now back in Singapore to support the crew of John McCain (DDG-56). After Singapore, they are expected to head through the Strait of Malacca and into the Indian Ocean en route the Central Command Area of Responsibility.

The America ARG, commanded by Commander Amphibious Squadron 3, consists of the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6), the amphibious transport dock USS San Diego (LPD-22), and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD-52). They will operate with embarked forces of the 15th MEU, the “Wildcards” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23, and detachments from Assault Craft Unit 5, Naval Beach Group 1, Beachmaster Unit 1, Fleet Surgical Team 1 and Tactical Air Control Squadron 11.

The 15th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force comprised of a ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 5th Marines; an aviation combat element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 (Reinforced); and a combat logistics element, Combat Logistics Battalion 15.

In the Coral Sea

Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1651 returns to the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD-48) to drop off personnel and equipment after completion of certification exercise (CERTEX) on Aug. 18, 2017. US Navy Photo

The Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group with 31st MEU departed the Shoalwater Bay Training Area, Queensland, Australia.
According to 31 MEU, “Marines and Sailors with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit completed the twice-annual Certification Exercise, Aug. 18, 2017, planning and accomplishing a rigorous series of missions at Shoalwater Bay Training Area, Queensland, Australia.

CERTEX is the last qualification step for the 31st MEU as it continues on its regularly scheduled patrol of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Since May, the 31st MEU has completed a series of exercises to hone its mission planning and execution capacity, beginning in Okinawa, Japan, and ending off the east coast of Australia with CERTEX.

During CERTEX Marines and sailors with the 31st MEU conducted a variety of standing missions – military tasks the MEU can plan and launch within six hours using the Marine Corps Rapid Response Planning Process. During CERTEX, leaders within the 31st MEU receive a series of scenario-based orders to execute a variety of amphibious missions – from a beach assault and helicopter-borne raid to a noncombatant evacuation operation (NEO) and humanitarian assistance-disaster relief (HADR) mission, all launched from the sea and including up to 2,200 Marines and sailors, which comprise the 31st MEU.

In the Persian Gulf

Marines take a break from their work in the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) on Aug. 20, 2017, in the Persian Gulf. US Navy Photo

The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group commenced combat flight operations in early August, conducting anti-ISIS strikes in Syria and Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
On Aug. 13, for the second time in a week, an Iranian drone attempted to interfere with flight operations on USS Nimitz (CVN-68).

In the Gulf of Aden/Red Sea

Marines assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit run sprints during physical training on the flight deck aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD-50) on Aug. 13, 2017. Carter Hall, part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. US Navy Photo

The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group with the 24th MEU is operating off Yemen, after arriving in theater in March.

They are expected to depart within the next ten days for the Mediterranean Sea before finishing their seven-month deployment and returning to the East Coast of the U.S. in September.

In the Western Atlantic

Sailors and tiger cruise participants watch MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters attached to the “Tridents” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9, F/A-18E Super Hornets attached to the “Tomcatters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 and the “Golden Warriors” of VFA-87, F/A-18F Super Hornets attached to the “Blacklions” of VFA-213, and an E-2C Hawkeye attached to the “Bear Aces” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 124 do a formation flyover during an air power demonstration for a tiger cruise aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on Aug. 20, 2017. US Navy Photo

The George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group has been returning home over the past few days. USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) and guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG-103) – home ported in Norfolk, Va. – returned on the morning Aug. 21. The cruisers USS Philippine Sea (CG-58) and USS Hue City (CG-66) are home ported in Naval Station Mayport, Fla. Philippine Sea returned Aug. 19 and Hue City returns on Aug. 21.

The Carrier Strike Group consists of the flagship Bush with embarked staffs of Carrier Strike Group 2, Carrier Air Wing 8, Destroyer Squadron 22, and the squadrons of CVW-8; guided-missile cruisers Philippine Sea and Hue City (CG-66); and Destroyer Squadron 22’s guided-missile destroyers USS Laboon (DDG-58) and Truxtun.

It is typical for the air wing to fly off about three to four days ahead of arrival of the ships. The squadrons of Carrier Air Wing 8 (CVW-8) returned to their bases including Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, Va., NAS Whidbey Island, Wash., NAS Jacksonville, Fla., NAS Lemoore, Calif. and Naval Station Norfolk on Aug. 17 and 18.

Air Wing 8 includes Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213 “Fighting Black Lions”; VFA-31 “Tomcatters”; VFA-87 “Golden Warriors”; VFA-37 “Ragin Bulls”; Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 131 “Lancers”; Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 124 “Bear Aces”; Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 70 “Spartans”; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9 “Tridents”; and a detachment from Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 “Rawhides.”

In addition to these major formations, not shown are thousands of others sailors and Marines serving aboard submarines, individual surface ships, aircraft squadrons, SEAL teams, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Forces and other units around the globe.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Follow @samlagrone

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