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PACIFIC OCEAN - More than 4,500 Sailors and Marines with the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), Aug. 11, after departing San Diego July 25.
While in the 7th Fleet AOR, the Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) will conduct exercises and training with maritime partner nations to enhance partnerships and promote peace and stability in the Indo-Asia Pacific region.
The ARG and MEU arrive following an amphibious sustainment training exercise in Hawaii with the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) and dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45).
The Navy/Marine Corps team also brings 12 MV-22B Ospreys, six AV-8B Harrier jets, five landing craft air cushion vehicles, four CH-53E Super Stallion and AH-1Z Super Cobra helicopters, 3 UH-1Y Huey helicopters and more.
"We bring some of the Navy's newest amphibious ships, some of the Marines newest aircraft and some of the best Sailors and Marines I've had the pleasure of working with to the region to help support our allies and further foster our partnerships," said Capt. Victor Cooper, commander of Amphibious Squadron Five. "It is a great honor to command such fine ships and their crews."
Other ARG elements consist of Commander, Amphibious Squadron Five, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23, Fleet Surgical Team 5, Tactical Air Control Squadron 11, Assault Craft Unit 5, Beach Master Unit 1 and Commander, Surface Forces Training Pacific.
"The combined Navy and Marine Corps team is a powerful, responsive and flexible force," said Col. Matthew Trollinger, commanding officer of the 11th MEU. "Our presence in the region provides options for rapid response in the event of crises or contingencies."
The 11th MEU consists of the 11th MEU Command Element; the Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163 (Reinforced); the Ground Combat Element, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines; and the Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 11.
The 7th Fleet AOR spans more than 48 million square miles, from the Kurile Islands, north of Japan, to the Antarctic in the south and from the International Date Line to the 68th meridian east, which runs down the India-Pakistan border.