More than 4,000 Sailors and Marines with the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), Sept. 12, after participating in a joint exercise with the Malaysian military and conducting a patrol of the U.S. 7th Fleet.
The Makin Island ARG is on a scheduled deployment and is the relief for the Bataan ARG, currently operating in the Arabian Gulf. The incoming ARG and MEU will support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.
“We aim to enhance our existing cooperative relationships while fostering security and stability,” said Capt. Vic Cooper, commander, Amphibious Squadron Five. “Through training and collaborative operations with regional forces, we are able to safeguard the region’s vital links to the global economy.”
The ARG is comprised of the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) and the dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45).
The 11th MEU consists of the 11th MEU Command Element; the Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163 (Reinforced); the Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines; and the Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 11.
“The combined Navy and Marine Corps team is a powerful, responsive and flexible force,” said Col. Matthew Trollinger, commanding officer, 11th MEU. “Our presence in the region provides options for rapid response in the event of crises or contingencies.”
The Navy and Marine Corps team brings MV-22B Ospreys, AV-8B Harriers, CH-53E Super Stallions, AH-1Z Super Cobras, UH-1Y Hueys and landing craft air cushion vehicles.
Other ARG elements consist of Commander, Amphibious Squadron 5, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23, Fleet Surgical Team 5, Tactical Air Control Squadron 11, Assault Craft Unit 5 and Beach Master Unit 1.
The 5th Fleet AOR encompasses approximately 2.5 million square miles of area including the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Red Sea. The 5th Fleet’s primary mission is to conduct maritime security operations, theatre security cooperation efforts, and strengthen partner nations’ maritime capabilities in order to promote security and stability in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.