Quartermaster 3rd Class Michael Yale scans for surface contacts aboard USS Boxer (LHD 4) while operating in the South China Sea, Aug. 6. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Brett Anderson)

SOUTH CHINA SEA - The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) completed a routine patrol in international waters of the South China Sea Aug. 6.

The U.S Navy conducts lawful and routine patrols throughout the Western Pacific year-round. Another ship from the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49), completed a similar patrol Aug. 4.

"Our routine presence here helps promote the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all countries," said Capt. Patrick Foege, commander of Amphibious Squadron 1. "The crew of Boxer conducted the transit professionally and without incident, and we were grateful for the opportunity to do our part to ensure these critical waterways remain open to everyone."

The patrol followed Boxer’s port visit to Singapore during which Sailors and Marines participated in military-to-military subject matter expert exchanges with the Singapore Navy, Aug. 2. The exchanges allowed Sailors and Marines to share tactics and capabilities with their Singaporean counterparts.

Boxer, flagship of the Amphibious Ready Group, with amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18), Harpers Ferry, and the embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is operating in the Western Pacific in support of security in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

While in 7th Fleet, the Boxer ARG and 13th MEU and assigned to Commander, Amphibious Force U.S. 7th Fleet, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force, headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa.