Home » Foreign Forces » Kearsarge ARG, 22nd MEU Enter U.S. 6th Fleet Area Of Operations

Kearsarge ARG, 22nd MEU Enter U.S. 6th Fleet Area Of Operations

The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group steams in formation on Dec. 24, 2018. Navy photo.

The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) spent Christmas in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations, after rescuing a British merchant sailor shortly after leaving homeport.

More than 4,500 sailors and Marines in the Kearsarge ARG/22nd MEU departed Norfolk on December 17 for a routine deployment and crossed over to 6th Fleet on Christmas. The 6th Fleet area of operations covers half the Atlantic, from the Arctic to Antarctica, along with the Mediterranean, all of Europe, Russia, and Africa.

“The Kearsarge ARG is prepared to conduct a variety of missions, including maritime security operations, crisis response, and theater security cooperation,” Capt. Daniel Blackburn, commander of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 6, said in a statement. “This deployment will deepen operational relationships with other services, agencies, allies and partners who operate with the Navy to support our shared interests.”

The ARG improved international relations before even entering the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations by providing a medical evacuation for a British Merchant Navy sailor from the United Kingdom-flagged MV Eddystone.

Just three days after leaving Norfolk, Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) sent an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter from Sea Combat Squadron 26 to transport the British sailor from Eddystone back to Kearsarge, where he was treated until he could be transferred to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital in Bermuda, according to the Navy.

“As sailors, we inherently understand the need to respond to the calls of distressed mariners at sea, so when we received a distress call this afternoon stating a civilian mariner with a serious medical condition required immediate care, Kearsarge quickly responded,” Navy Capt. Jason Rimmer, the commanding officer of Kearsarge, said in a statement.
“Increasing sea state in the western Atlantic and overwhelming distances between the mariner’s ship and the nearest hospital made it apparent that Kearsarge would need to medevac the patient to our ship so that our expert medical staff could provide prompt medical care.”

At times, the Royal Navy uses Eddystone to transport military equipment. All crew members are Royal Navy Sponsored Reservists, according to the ship’s owner, U.K.-based Foreland Shipping Ltd.

Joining Kearsarge in the ARG are amphibious transport dock USS Arlington (LPD-24), dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43), Fleet Surgical Teams (FST) 2 and 8, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26, Tactical Air Control Squadron 21, components of Naval Beach Group 2 and the embarked staff of PHIBRON 6.

“The 22nd MEU is a highly capable and responsive sea-based Marine Air-Ground Task Force, forward deployed to provide a credible military presence in support our nation’s defense,” Col. Michael Perez, the 22 MEU commanding officer, said in a statement.
“Teaming with the Kearsarge ARG, we look forward to training with allied and partner military forces while also providing versatile, amphibious response options to our combatant commanders as we face myriad global challenges. Though we are deployed during the holidays, the Marines and sailors of this team have trained hard for this opportunity to serve and remain focused on our mission.”

  • Ed L

    Nice move, shame the ARG is only 3 ships. Back in the day, we were four to five ships and if trouble arised we were supplement by a few frigates and a DDG or two

    • DaSaint

      One day there may be more. At least an LCS (or two), and an FFG.
      One day…

      • Ed L

        missed the Newport LST’s, once on a NATO exercise watch 20 M-60’s roll off one. Yep us deckapes on the LPD were counting, it was good practice for us.

        • DaSaint

          I remember touring one in NYC as a kid. Loved the explanation of the mechanics of the forward ramp. Such a unique design. And the last time we designed amphibs to beach.

          • Ed L

            Then those of you who never see a Newport class LST manuvering with the bow thruster was really a treat.

      • Duane

        The Navy’s current focus is on developing disaggregated networked operations in order to deprive the enemy of concentrated targets. NIFCCA is dependent on developing and deploying new ship computer networks, deploying either AEGIS or COMBATTS-21 on all surface warships, ditto on the latest gen radars, F-35Cs, new gen ISR platforms incl. P-8s and MQ-4s and MQ-8Cs, better long range offensive ASCMs like LRASM and NSM, and improved missile defenses like new Block 2 versions of SeaRAM and ESSM.

        It’s all coming together, such that our surface warships can operate safely when disaggregated, can threaten our enemies from literally anywhere, and then aggregate as needed on an ad hoc basis.

        • DaSaint

          Yeah, I get that. Will be interesting to see the details of the Design Development RFP for the FFG(X). What’s also interesting is the Navy’s plan on replacing both the LCS and the FFG(X) with their notional Small Surface Combatant. I’m not holding my breath on that, as I feel that there are too many programs coming on line – of course, dependent on proposed schedule. The SSC could be for 2030 and beyond. Somehow, however, I believe later upgraded FFG(X) ends up replacing Flight I Burkes.

          Happy New Year BTW!

  • Albert Romero

    sorry but most of the deployments are fraud waste and abuse….way way way to much $$$$ goes into these “deployments” for what reason ? waste of time and man hours and money

    • DaSaint

      Glad your view is not in the majority. Deployments are necessary for a myriad of reasons. Can’t have naval assets tied up to the piers, waiting for an international incident to then deploy. Too late then.

    • Ser Arthur Dayne

      “I’ll take, ‘The Differences Between To, Two, & Too’ for $1,600, Alex….” — DAILY DOUBLE!

    • PolicyWonk

      One of the first questions asked by any POTUS in an international crisis, is “where is the nearest carrier?”.

      History is very clear, that either you consistently demonstrate your interest in a given region via consistent/constant patrols, or bad things happen when potential adversaries think you aren’t paying attention. This is why your local police department performs routine patrols (in this case, on a much larger scale). The USA has allies, friends, and interests/obligations world-wide.

      Wars are best prevented by being prepared (i.e. “good fences make good neighbors”), which might be a sad state of affairs, but it is the reality.

      • D4x

        Deployment of an ARG/MEU with two Fleet Surgical Teams to the 6th Fleet AoO is definitely “being prepared” for providing versatile, amphibious response options to our combatant commanders

        Don’t really need a carrier when there is an LHD on hand.
        USS Kearsarge LHD-3 might have six F-35Bs on board, but the USNavy photo shows twelve Harriers on deck.

        • PolicyWonk

          I agree!

          The LHD has been used in the past as a CVL (very successfully), and the LHA-6 class is especially useful in that type of application. The America class can handle (I think) 20 F-35B’s – then all we’d need is V-22’s with fuel bladders (the USMC tested this configuration), and the Brits lightweight AEW package, to make for a very useful CVL.

          I’ve been a proponent of using LHA-6 class ships as CVL’s, to patrol the less volatile parts of the world, thereby freeing up the CVN’s for duty elsewhere.

          • D4x

            10:15 AM – 28 Dec 2018 “#USNavy photos of the day: #USSPorter gets underway, #USSAnchorage fosters #NavyPartnerships with the @indiannavy, and Sailors position a missile aboard #USSKearsarge.” @USNavy#1078716108830638082

            USS Kearsarge is for amphibious landings, not missile launches (yet). Not sure if they are in the Med. Some photo of the week! USNavy only tweets like that for ‘messaging’.
            Lot of ‘message’ tweets in 2018, usually from USNavyEurope.

            The ARGs are more versatile than the CVNs. Have thought DoD is planning an ARG/MEU homeported at Souda Bay, Crete, to keep an eye on the EastMed pipeline & an eagle eye on the Bosporus; help Italy and Greece with piracy and refugees; and, Suez Canal, Lebanon, Syria.

  • Jack D Ripper

    whats with all the chinee hypersonic missle bs