OKINAWA, Japan - The crew of Lewis B. Puller class expeditionary staging base USS Miguel Keith (ESB 5) hosted Navy staff from Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7, and Marines from III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) and subordinate commands while anchored this week at Naval Base White Beach, Okinawa.
Service members were led throughout the ship for familiarization of the platform while discussing its capabilities and upcoming operational opportunities, such as aircraft deck landing qualifications, command and control possibilities and exercises with partners and allies.
“Our crew is excited to be operating in the Indo-Pacific region, we remain focused and mission ready for any challenges or tasks that come our way,” said Capt. Troy Fendrick, commanding officer of USS Miguel Keith. “We are looking forward to operating with our Marine counterparts to enhance Naval integration and concentrate on how our forces can be more combat effective, together.”
Integration between the Blue and Green teams at the unit level, while exploring interoperability between Sailors and Marines on the ESB, highlights the value and support capacity that the platform brings to the Indo-Pacific region as well as to the Naval Expeditionary Force (NEF).
While touring the ship, Rear Adm. Chris Engdahl, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 7, expressed his enthusiasm to immediately put the Miguel Keith to work in this dynamic region.
“We have demonstrated the capabilities of this ship class as they operate globally in support of U.S. Combatant Commanders. As an afloat forward staging base, the platform has executed joint-bilateral aviation exercises and operations, counter-piracy and visit, board, search and seizure operations, and served as an embarkation platform for mine countermeasures, and continuation of operations execution.”
“USS Miguel Keith offers the capability to provide presence in areas where the U.S. does not have a land-based footprint as well as supporting humanitarian assistance/disaster response missions if required,” said Engdahl. “With her maiden deployment to 7th Fleet, we intend to expand the capabilities of the ship and her crew as we integrate Sailors and Marines alongside joint forces, partners and allies in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”
Operating as part of Amphibious Squadron 11, the Miguel Keith is on its maiden deployment to the Indo-Pacific and brings the ESG7 commander a broad range of military capabilities to enhance theater littoral warfare operations.
Expeditionary Strike Group 7, is forward-deployed to 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.