The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) entered the second phase of its scheduled deployment Nov. 27, when the group crossed the international date line and entered the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).
The Makin Island ARG is comprised of the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), which serves as the command ship for Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5 and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), as well as the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52).
“A key component of the U.S. maritime strategy is building regional partnerships to ensure security, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Capt. Humberto L. Quintanilla, PHIBRON-5 commander.
Quintanilla said the months of training conducted by the different components of the Makin Island ARG, as well as the ARG-MEU certification exercises, have forged a well-trained three-ship amphibious ready group for a variety of littoral operations.
“The Makin Island ARG is a highly capable group of Sailors and Marines poised to execute various types of combat or disaster relief missions in various regions of the globe,” said Quintanilla. “From providing humanitarian assistance during a natural disaster, to ensuring the free flow of commerce, the Makin Island ARG is proof of America’s commitment to peace and stability wherever we are needed.”
This is the maiden deployment for Makin Island, the Navy’s newest amphibious assault ship and the only U.S. Navy ship with a hybrid electric propulsion system.
By using this unique propulsion system, the Navy expects to see fuel savings of more than $250 million during the ship’s lifecycle, proving the Navy’s commitment to energy awareness and conservation.
The 7th Fleet AOR includes more than 52 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian oceans, stretching from the international date line to the east coast of Africa, and from the Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south.
More than half of the world’s population lives within the 7th Fleet AOR. In addition, more than 80 percent of that population lives within 500 miles of the oceans, which means this is an inherently maritime region.
Naval Today Staff , November 29, 2011; Image: navy