The amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22), with the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), departed the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO) and transitioned into the 7th Fleet AOO Jan. 25, 2015.
San Diego, a part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), which includes the flagship amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45), rejoined the ARG who departed the U.S. 5th Fleet AOO Jan. 9, 2015.
After arriving on station in September 2014, Sailors and Marines immediately began preparing for various exercises and events. Performing as a theater asset for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), San Diego and 11th MEU team stood several alert missions in support of operations in the area.
While in theater, San Diego and the 11th MEU also provided personnel and equipment to complete a variety of training operations. The heavily integrated team seized opportunities to work with the Royal British Navy during exercise Cougar Voyage 2014, the Saudi Arabian Forces during exercise Red Reef 15 and conducted sustainment training exercises in Kuwait and Djibouti.
With a high demand to fulfill the mission area requirements, San Diego was left with little room to schedule port visits. The crew spent 93 consecutive days at sea between Hong Kong and the working port visit in Port Khalifa, Abu Dhabi.
During San Diego’s last port call to Aqaba, Jordan, Jan. 11, 2015, after nearly two additional months at sea, the Navy/Marine Corps team again helped strengthen theater cooperation efforts by hosting tours for the Jordanian military while completing a full wash down of equipment and vehicles in preparation for their return to the U.S.
San Diego and the 11th MEU were relieved on station by the Iwo Jima ARG and 24th MEU, who will continue to maintain the critical security posture in the region.
Image: US Navy