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America ARG, 15th MEU resume 7th Fleet operations after return

31 December 2017

From MCSN Dalton Caples, USS San Diego Public Affairs

USS San Diego (LPD 22) and USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) recently returned from 5th Fleet to join USS America (LHA 6) in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.

INDIAN OCEAN - The amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), along with the embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), returned to U.S. 7th Fleet, Dec. 25.

Under the operational control of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 3, the ships were set to join the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) in order to reaggregate as the America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).

“While on this deployment, each of the ships have done some phenomenal work in establishing themselves as the premier crisis response contingency force for the fleet commanders,” said Capt. Rome Ruiz, commander of PHIBRON 3. “Our integrated Navy-Marine Corps team is a force multiplier across the full spectrum of warfighting and assures our allies and partners of our commitment to regional security and cooperation We look forward to our continued operations in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.”

Additionally, the Sailors and Marines intend to maintain mission readiness and conduct training by participating in sustainment drills for combat readiness and resilience.

“In the upcoming weeks we have corporal’s course and live-fire training [aboard San Diego], as well as the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program,” said 1st Lt. Michael Pagoaga, Light Armored Reconnaissance platoon commander with Battalion Landing team 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 15th MEU. “The mission of the MEU is to maintain mission readiness and to be ready to respond to a crisis at anytime.”

While in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, the Blue-Green team demonstrated their competence and responsiveness to duty in support of the combatant commander’s priorities as the nation’s premier crisis response force.

“The Marines were spread across multiple locations conducting real world operations and partner nation training in over a dozen countries simultaneously,” said 15th MEU Commanding Officer Col. Joseph Clearfield. “The work done in the Central Command (CENTCOM) and Africa Command (AFRICOM) areas of responsibilities contributed in the fight against terrorism, deterred aggressors, and instilled confidence in our partner forces. We are without a doubt the most capable combat formation and as is always the case of forward deployed amphibious forces, we were the most ready when the call came and will remain so while in 7th Fleet.”

The partner nation training conducted by the ARG and MEU demonstrated commitment to security and stability to the region, added Clearfield.

Still operating in CENTCOM are Marines aboard the French amphibious assault ship FS Tonnerre where they are breaking new ground and developing maritime capabilities with the French.

The ships of the America Amphibious Ready Group, with embarked 15th MEU, are operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to strengthen partnerships and serve as a ready-response force for any type of contingency.

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