Saturday, May 23, 2009

Boxer ARG Begins Exercise in the Gulf of Aden

The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) began an ARG/ Marine Expeditionary Unit Exercise (MEUEX) May 19, in the Gulf of Aden and ashore at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti.

The weeklong ARG/MEUEX is an amphibious ship-to-shore training evolution designed to enhance Navy and Marine Corps amphibious capabilities in unfamiliar terrain and involves the USS New Orleans (LPD 18), USS Comstock (LSD 45) and 13th MEU.

"It is extremely important for Marines and Sailors of a deployed ARG/MEU to conduct exercises while deployed," said LtCol Tye R. Wallace, Commanding Officer, Battalion Landing Team 1/1. "In order to be the most ready force, we must constantly keep our combat skills at their peak."

The exercise demonstrates the ability of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and 13th MEU to conduct both large-scale combat operations and humanitarian assistance anywhere in the world and will consist of tactical amphibious landings, bi-lateral training with the French Foreign Legion and tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel (TRAP), as well as other events.

"The MEU is expected to execute any of its assigned missions, from the sea, within six hours of receiving an execute order," said Wallace. "This means going directly into the fight from our ships. No one else does this. This is a unique capability that the Navy / Marine Corps team provides our nation. This allows our deployed naval forces to be relevant, responsive, and ready for action."

The ARG/MEUEX is scheduled to conclude May 26.
The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group is comprised of Amphibious Squadron 5, USS Boxer (LHD 4), New Orleans, Comstock, USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 Detachment 3, Naval Beach Group 1, Assault Craft Unit 5, Assault Craft Unit 1, Beach Master Unit 1 and Fleet Surgical Team 5.

The 13th MEU is comprised of a Command Element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163(Reinforced), Combat Logistics Battalion 13 and Battalion Landing Team 1/1.

The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and 13th MEU is currently on a deployment in support of regional and Maritime Security Operations (MSO). MSO help develop security in the maritime environment. From security arises stability that results in global economic prosperity. MSO complements the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.