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JTF-Q is responsible for the repositioning of U.S. forces within East Africa through Operation OCTAVE QUARTZ (OOQ), whose mission is to relocate U.S. DOD forces in Somalia to other East Africa operating locations while maintaining pressure on violent extremists and supporting partner forces.
"The arrival of the ARG/MEU and its significant combat capability demonstrates our resolve to support our partners and protect our forces through this transition," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson, JTF-Q commander. ''This is a great example of how the United States can rapidly aggregate combat power to respond to emerging issues. We will look to leverage this inherent flexibility of the U.S. military in support of our future engagements in East Africa."
The Makin Island ARG, commanded by Amphibious Squadron Three, comprises amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) along with amphibious transport dock ships USS San Diego (LPD 22) and USS Somerset (LPD 25). The ARG will conduct maritime security operations with expeditionary sea base USS Hershel "Woody" Williams (ESB 4) for OOQ.
The 15th MEU provides sea-based forces capable of executing overland combat operations, amphibious long range air-assaults, expeditionary strikes and joint aviation operations. The Makin Island ARG and 15th MEU, a naval integration force of nearly 5,000 Sailors and Marines, projects expeditionary striking power in the maritime, littoral, and inland environment by conducting amphibious operations.
"Our Navy and Marine Corps forces afloat off the coast of East Africa represents a premier crisis response force in the region," said JFMCC Commander U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Farrell Sullivan. "Together, alongside the Hershel 'Woody' Williams, the JFMCC is postured to provide a full spectrum of combat and logistics capabilities in support of the JTF-Quartz mission."
The 15th MEU consists of the Command Element; the Aviation Combat Element, comprising Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164 (Reinforced); the Ground Combat Element, comprising Battalion Landing Team 1/4; and the Logistics Combat Element, which entails Combat Logistics Battalion 15.
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164 (Reinforced) is composed of 11 detachments equipped with heavy and light helicopters, attack and utility support helicopters, fixed wing 5th Generation Strike Fighter Aircraft, unmanned surveillance aircraft, low altitude air defense, expeditionary airfield equipment, and organizational and intermediate maintenance support capabilities.
The 15th MEU provides sea-based forces capable of executing overland combat operations, amphibious long range air-assaults, expeditionary strikes and joint aviation operations.
Additional units embarked with the Makin Island ARG include Aviation units embarked include: Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 49, Tactical Air Control Squadron 11, Beach Master Unit 1, and Fleet Surgical Team 1 from San Diego and Assault Craft Unit 5 from Camp Pendleton, California.
USS Hershel "Woody" Williams began its inaugural deployment in July and has been operating in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of responsibility as part of the U.S. Africa command mission. The ship provides the U.S. a forward deployed presence in Africa as well as increased naval power through Navy and Marine Corps integrated operations, including Marine aviation and support to amphibious operations.
The Makin Island ARG and USS Hershel "Woody" Williams are conducting operations in support of U.S. Naval Forces Africa. Navy and Marine Corps integration promotes maritime security and stability, projecting power through amphibious operations to ensuring dominance across the battle space from the open seas to the littoral.
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