PACIFIC OCEAN - Marines and Sailors with the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), arrived off the coast of Alaska, May 2, to participate in Exercise Northern Edge 21, the largest joint exercise of 2021, led by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
Northern Edge 21 is designed to provide high-end, realistic war fighter training, develop and improve joint interoperability, and enhance the combat readiness of participating forces while utilizing Alaska's strategic location, vital to maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Makin Island ARG and 15th MEU will execute air operations from USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and USS San Diego (LPD 22), and air and amphibious operations from USS Somerset (LPD 25) while maneuvering in and from the Temporary Maritime Activities Areas in the Gulf of Alaska and over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex. MEU forces will conduct joint training and land based operations at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Eielson Air Force Base, Fort Greely, Allen Army Airfield and Cold Bay, identified as a cluster base.
"We have an amazing opportunity to showcase and enhance the interoperability of this amphibious force with not only a carrier strike group, but with the Army and Air Force as well," said Capt. Henry Kim, Makin Island ARG commodore. "I'm looking forward to advancing expeditionary advanced base operations, especially in the austere northern environments near the arctic."
During Northern Edge 21, the Makin Island ARG and 15th MEU will leverage opportunities to test, proof, and experiment with potential future ARG/MEU employment options in support of joint forces to advance and inform service concepts and ensure continued viability of the ARG/MEU in today's evolving operating environment.
"As a forward deployed naval expeditionary force, along with our Makin Island ARG counterparts, 15th MEU is uniquely postured to validate and inform future capabilities and operating concepts," said Col. Fridrik Fridriksson, 15th MEU commanding officer. "As an Alaska native, I'm truly excited to be in my home state and for the opportunity to test our capabilities in a climate different to what we have experienced thus far during this deployment."
The Makin Island ARG and embarked 15th MEU provides the combatant commander with a responsive, flexible and forward-deployed asset capable of maritime power projection, contingency operations and crisis response, shaping the operational environment to protect the United States and allied interests in any threat environment.