By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chelsea Mandello, Amphibious Squadron Four Public Affairs
The Kearsarge ARG and 26th MEU left Norfolk, Va., in March and entered the U.S. Central Command AOR in April.
During their time in the 5th Fleet AOR, the Kearsarge ARG conducted maritime security operations and security cooperation activities with partner nations in the region. The ARG also participated in four multinational exercises designed to strengthen coalition partnerships and reinforce regional security and stability, including the recent Eager Lion 2013 exercise in Jordan.
"This deployment has been a true test of our Sailors' and Marines' capabilities to which we not only met the standards, but far exceeded expectations," said, Capt. Jim Cody, commodore, Kearsarge ARG.
The ARG includes the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17), which left the 5th Fleet AOR during summer, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), Assault Craft Unit 4, and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC 28).
The 26th MEU is deployed with the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and served as a theater reserve and crisis response force while the ARG/MEU was assigned to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
"I am extremely proud of the 26th MEU/Kearsarge ARG Navy and Marine Corps team. The men and women who worked tirelessly throughout the 5th Fleet AOR met every contingency and successfully executed each mission, and were always poised to respond to the next task," said Marine Col. Matthew G. St. Clair, 26th MEU commanding officer. "They epitomized the professionalism and commitment required of an expeditionary crisis response force and provided the combatant commander a certain force in an uncertain world."
The Kearsarge ARG and 26th MEU were relieved by the Boxer ARG and 13th MEU and will continue their deployment in the 6th fleet AOR.