USS BOXER, At Sea (NNS) -- As Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group (BOXESG) neared completion of its final certification exercise (CERTEX) Dec. 8, the Commander of U.S. 3rd Fleet and the Commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force visited the strike group.
Vice Adm. Samuel J. Locklear and Lt. Gen. Samuel T. Helland visited USS Comstock (LSD 45), USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and USS Boxer (LHD 4) to see the strike group in action. They will make the final determination that the strike group is ready to deploy.
"After visiting the ships today, it's clear the strike group is doing a great job of keeping everyone trained," said Locklear. "That's great from a strategic stand point, because there will be a lot of work for BOXESG throughout the Pacific during deployment."
Locklear spoke to first class petty officers and chief petty officers about their roles and importance after meeting with Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and BOXESG leadership.
"I can't tell you how important your leadership is in running the Navy. Chiefs and first class petty officers do run the Navy," said Locklear. "I want everyone to think about the Navy, they will pass on to the next generation and keep that in mind while training junior Sailors."
Locklear also discussed the Navy's importance from a global perspective.
"Our job is to ensure our country, ports and national interests are secure," said Locklear. "In doing so, we need to operate all assets at our disposal efficiently. We need to continue getting Marines back at sea with us to keep their expeditionary skills up."
After answering several questions, Locklear thanked everyone for their hard work during CERTEX before departing.
BOXESG is underway in support of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Certification Exercise to prepare for an upcoming deployment.
BOXESG is comprised of Amphibious Squadron 5, the 13th MEU, Boxer, USS New Orleans (LPD 18), USS Comstock (LSD 45), USS Chung Hoon (DDG 93), USCGC Boutwell (WHEC 719), USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), Naval Beach Group 1, Assault Craft Unit 5, Assault Craft Unit 1, Beach Master Unit 1, Fleet Surgical Team 5, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 (Rein), Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21, Combat Logistics Battalion 13, Battalion Landing Team 1/1, and Fixed Wing Marine Attack Squadron 214.
For more news from USS Boxer (LHD 4), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd4/.