Family members gather to watch the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) depart San Diego, Aug. 23 . (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Carlos M. Vazquez II)

SAN DIEGO - The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (BOXARG) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) departed San Diego for a scheduled deployment, Aug. 23.

"I'm enthusiastic and confident in the ARG/MEU team and our ability to carry out any mission or tasking," said Commander, Amphibious Squadron 1, Capt. Malcolm Potts. "This team is fully integrated, and we're ready to meet the full range of deployed challenges. As a 4,000 strong Blue/Green team, this is America's best."

BOXARG is comprised of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49).

"Many months of training have built to this moment," said Capt. John E. Gumbleton, Boxer commanding officer. "The crew is tried, tested and ready to perform the missions tasked from our forward deployed commanders. I'm very proud of this crew. Their hard work has paid off and these fine collections of Sailors have come together as a superb team. I have no doubt will exceed all expectations as we carry out our assigned missions throughout our deployment."

BOXARG, with embarked 13th MEU, is deploying to the western Pacific and U.S. Central Command areas of operation with the ability to accomplish a variety of missions supporting the Navy's maritime strategy including combat missions, humanitarian assistance, counter piracy and promoting peace and stability in the region. The ready group's forward presence is paramount to reassuring the United States' commitment to regional security and promoting global economic stability and local prosperity.

Prior to Boxer getting underway, Vice Adm. Kenneth E. Floyd, commander U.S. Third Fleet and Lt. Gen. John Toolan, commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force paid a visit to wish the crew a safe journey and tour some of the ship's spaces.

More than 4,000 personnel are deploying as part of BOXARG including nearly 1,800 Sailors and 2,400 embarked Marines. BOXARG/13th MEU can operate as a combined expeditionary strike group or deploy individual assets to provide tailored support for multiple missions.

This deployment marks the first West Coast deployment of a squadron of MV-22 Ospreys, an aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing and short takeoff and landing (VSTOL) capabilities.

Other elements of the BOXARG include: Fleet Surgical Team 3; Tactical Air Control Squadron 11; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21; Assault Craft Unit 1; Assault Craft Unit 5, and Beach Master Unit 1.

Family members wave goodbye as the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) departs San Diego, Aug. 23 for a deployment with the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group. (U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Carlos M. Vazquez II)

Sailors and Marines man the rails aboard USS New Orleans (LPD 18) as the ship departs San Diego, Aug. 23. (U.S. Navy photo by MCCS Donnie Ryan)