OKINAWA, Japan - America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) deployed June 10 for scheduled routine operations across the Indo-Pacific.
The ARG, with embarked Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11 staff, integrates with the 31st MEU to form a capable and flexible crisis and expeditionary response force. USS America (LHA 6), the Navy’s only permanently forward deployed amphibious assault ship leads the ARG which also includes the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42).
The 31st MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force consisting of a command element, which is responsible for rapid and deliberate planning, a ground combat element (GCE), capable of supporting amphibious assaults and raids, aviation combat element (ACE), which provides offensive air support, aerial reconnaissance and anti-aircraft warfare, and a logistics combat element (LCE), capable of organic sustainment and general engineering operations, that regularly trains to accomplish a variety of mission-essential tasks to support U.S. 7th Fleet and 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) objectives.
“The strength of our force comes from the team work, cooperation, and integration of the blue-green team,” said Col. Michael Nakonieczny, 31st MEU, commanding officer. “We are ready to respond to any crisis or contingency at a moment's notice. This ability to rapidly respond is what we owe to our nation and it is what we owe to our partners and allies.”
The 31st MEU is currently comprised of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 265 (Reinforced) as the ACE, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines as the GCE and Combat Logistics Battalion 31 as the LCE. The F-35B Lightning II fighter aircraft embarked with VMM-265 provide enhanced battle vision for optimal command-and-control of multiple mission platforms throughout the Indo-Pacific. Working together with the America Ready Group, the 31st MEU is able to conduct missions across the full spectrum of military operations from limited contingency operations to humanitarian aid.
This “blue-green team,” which U.S. 7th Fleet Commander, Vice Adm. Bill Merz called “that persistent partner that every one of the thirty-five maritime nations out here count on,” stands ready to respond to any contingency.
“This embarkation marks the joining of two exceptional teams together into one aggregate force,” said Capt. Greg Baker, PHIBRON 11 commodore. “Bringing Marines aboard the ARG provides the opportunity to train and certify as a single team and enables us to answer unhesitatingly yes to the question if we are ready to fight tonight.”
Together, the forward-deployed ships of PHIBRON 11 and elements of the 31st MEU are operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility to enhance interoperability with allies and partners, and serve as a ready response force to defend peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.