PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit conducted amphibious sustainment training on Oahu and the island of Hawaii, Oct. 19-23, after departing Naval Base San Diego, Oct. 14, for a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 3rd, 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility.
"As we head into the Western Pacific and then to the Middle East, this training opportunity in Hawaii proved crucial to sustaining our combat readiness," said Col. Clay C. Tipton, commanding officer of the 11th MEU. "Whether we're bringing food and supplies to people in need or conducting a helo-borne raid to remove a high-value individual from the battlefield, the Makin Island ARG/11th MEU provides our nation with an on-call, forward deployed crisis response force."
The sustainment training allowed the Navy-Marine Corps team to sharpen the skills they learned during a six-month pre-deployment cycle, and included planning and execution of ship-to-shore operations, a company-sized helo-borne raid, combat marksmanship, fire support operations, and simulated convoy operations.
"Maintaining our high levels of proficiency as we make our way into our operating areas means the ARG/MEU will be prepared to handle any mission our commanders task to us," said Capt. Mike Crary, commander, Amphibious Squadron Five. "This team is the most capable amphibious force in the world, and we sustain that edge by capitalizing on every opportunity to train together."
The Makin Island ARG is comprised of the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), the command ship for PHIBRON Five and the 11th MEU, as well as the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25), which is embarking on its maiden deployment, and amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45). Embarked units, which extend the ARG's capabilities, include the "Blackjacks" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21, Fleet Surgical Team 5, Tactical Air Control Squadron 11, and Assault Craft Unit 5.
The 11th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force comprised of a ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marines; an aviation combat element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163 (Reinforced); a combat logistics element, Combat Logistics Battalion 11; and a command element with a commanding officer who leads the entire MEU.
For more news from USS Makin Island (LHD 8), visit http://www.navy.mil/local/lhd8/.