The Essex Amphibious Ready Group wrapped up its deployment Friday, returning to San Diego, California.
The Essex ARG — which includes the amphibious assault carrier Essex, amphibious transport dock Portland, dock landing ship Pearl Harbor and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit — was deployed for seven months to the U.S. Navy’s 3rd, 5th, and 7th Fleet areas of operation.
The units supported Operation Freedom Sentinel and Operation Inherent Resolve, as well as exercises like Large Scale Exercise 21, Exercise Indigo Defender 21, Red Sea Maritime Security Operations, Marine Exercise Philippines 22, and Noble Fusion 22 during the deployment.
“The Essex ARG and 11th MEU provided numbered fleet and combatant commanders with a responsive, flexible and forward-deployed asset capable of maritime power projection, contingency operations, and crisis response,” the Navy said in a news release. “Their capabilities enabled shaping of the operational environment to protect the United States and allied interests in any threat environment.”
The amphibious ready group operated in the 5th Fleet from September 2021 to January 2022 and participated in theater amphibious combat rehearsals in Kuwait, while also operating with maritime forces from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan and Israel.
The amphibious ready group then headed to the 7th Fleet in January, where the group teamed up with the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group in the South China Sea for expeditionary strike force operations.
“Our ability to quickly and effectively integrate with an amphibious ready group, such as ESX ARG, demonstrates a diverse level of naval lethality that is unlike any other naval force,” Rear Adm. Dan Martin, commander of Carrier Strike Group 1, said in a Navy news release.
Likewise, the group was involved in dual-carrier and dual-ARG training, with units joining the Vinson and Abraham Lincoln carrier strike groups along with the America Amphibious Ready Group and the Japan Self-Defense Force in the Philippine Sea.
“Throughout the ARG-MEU’s 212-day deployment, I have been most humbled to have served alongside a highly skilled team of Sailors and Marines,” Capt. Karrey Sanders, commander of Amphibious Squadron 1, said in a Navy news release.
“Our integration as a combined blue-green team was nothing short of exceptional, and I am thankful to have not only showcased our amphibious capabilities throughout three Navy fleets together but to have created and shared countless memories that will last a lifetime,” Sanders said.