USS Germantown (LSD 42) transits Sasebo Bay as it departs Jan. 29. (U.S. Navy/MC3 James Vasquez)

SASEBO, Japan - The forward-deployed amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42), part of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), departed Fleet Activities Sasebo Jan. 29 to participate in Amphibious Integration Training (AIT) and Certification Exercise (CERTEX) with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).

“AIT and CERTEX are critical training exercises we conduct annually with the 31st MEU to build teamwork and cultivate integration with the Blue-Green team. Live training off the coast of Okinawa provides the best opportunity to hone the teamwork necessary to effectively execute our amphibious warfare skill-set and enables the embarked Marines to ramp up their operational experience conducting operations from the sea.” said Cmdr. Gary A. Harrington II, commanding officer of the USS Germantown. “The Sailors are eager to demonstrate their proficiency in executing and supporting the myriad of amphibious missions after our recent maintenance upkeep and leave period.”

Germantown, along with the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), the ARG’s flagship, will embark elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), as part of AIT and CERTEX.

AIT is designed to strengthen develop coordination and strengthen the working relationships between Sailors and Marines by conducting individual training events covering a diverse set of amphibious missions in response to scenario driven events.

CERTEX is a graduation exercise with comprehensive, complex training evolutions that combines the Navy and Marine Corps maritime and sea-to-shore capabilities. The ability of effectively conduct these events is assessed by the Marine Corps’ Special Operations Training Group (SOTG) and the MEU is certified capable to execute missions from medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) to forcible entry assaults and crisis response. Both AIT and CERTEX look to flex the capabilities of 31st MEU Marines and Germantown sailors.

“Germantown is excited to be back underway after a productive maintenance availability. AIT/CERTEX provides a vital opportunity to exercise our ability to execute the expeditionary warfare mission and ensures the Blue-Green team is fully integrated and ready for our upcoming Spring patrol,” said Lt. Nowell, operations officer of USS Germantown.

“As a forward deployed force, we must be ready to effectively conduct operations should a crisis or contingency arise in this critical region of the world.” said Cmdr. Harrington.