From Amphibious Squadron 3 Public Affairs
In this file photo, USS America (LHA 6) and USS San Diego (LPD 22) move into position behind USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), not pictured, during training in May. (U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. F. Cordoba) >>
PACIFIC OCEAN - The America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, July 23, after concluding operations in U.S. 3rd Fleet.
While in 7th Fleet, the America ARG/15th MEU will participate in bilateral training exercises and conduct operations throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. The series of scheduled bilateral engagements is meant to strengthen interoperability with allies and partners in order to enhance regional security and stability.
"Our Blue-Green team is a highly lethal, mobile, and ready force and we are looking forward to the opportunities that are in front of us," said Capt. Rome Ruiz, commander, Amphibious Squadron (CPR) 3. "Our time in 7th Fleet will allow us to work with different partner nations, experience their rich cultures, and demonstrate our commitment to contributing to regional stability."
Following their departure from their homeport of San Diego, the ARG/MEU conducted training in Hawaii, which allowed Sailors and Marines to sustain some of the skills they developed during a comprehensive six-month pre-deployment training cycle.
"What makes this naval, expeditionary force so unique is our ability to operate simultaneously on the sea, ashore, and in the air, and to move seamlessly between those domains - that is the value of amphibious forces," said Col. Joseph Clearfield, the 15th MEU commanding officer. "This Navy/Marine Corps Team prides itself on the expeditionary capabilities we bring to the 7th Fleet as a ready and responsive force."
The America ARG/15th MEU will provide senior U.S. military leadership and coalition partners with a flexible force which can rapidly respond to contingencies and crises within a region. With ships, aircraft, troops, and logistical equipment, the ARG/MEU is a self-contained and self-sustained task force capable of conducting everything from combat operations to providing humanitarian assistance.
The America ARG, commanded by CPR-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 Marine Expeditionary Unit (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); a combat logistics element, Combat Logistics Battalion 15.
The 7th Fleet’s area of operation spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South.