U.S. Navy’s Wasp amphibious ready group (ARG) wrapped up its engagement against ISIS in Sirte, Libya and departed the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations on December 16.
The Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) requested U.S. air strike support to better enable their aligned forces to liberate Sirte.
After the ARG conducted hundreds of strikes as part of operation Odyssey Lightning, crippling ISIS’ fighting positions, artillery and ammunition stores, GNA-aligned forces claimed liberation of the city December 6.
“This ARG/MEU team has done more to support the fight against ISIL than anticipated at the beginning of this deployment,” said commander of the Wasp ARG Capt. F. Byron Ogden. “When we first entered the Mediterranean, we didn’t know that we’d be tasked with supporting OOL. We received the orders, conducted planning, and began precision air strikes in a matter of days.”
AV-8B Harrier II’s and AH-1W Super Cobras from the 22nd marine embarked unit provided the precision air strike capability from both the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) and the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17).
Wasp completed this operation during its first deployment in more than 10 years.
The two ships relieved one another to carry out the mission continuously from August 1 to December 6. After four months, both crews completed their support of OOL with no major safety issues or aircraft mishaps.
The Wasp ARG and 22nd MEU are now entering the final stages of their six-month deployment, as they cross the Atlantic to head home.