More than 4,500 Sailors and Marines with the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) May 25, after departing San Diego May 11.
The ARG and MEU arrived following an amphibious sustainment training exercise in Hawaii with the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), the amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23), and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47).
While in the Hawaii operating area, the Essex ARG and 15th MEU participated in Culebra Koa 2015, an amphibious force and joint seabasing exercise that introduced new technology to decrease reliance on infrastructure ashore.
The ARG and MEU also hosted flag and general officers from more than 20 nations during the inaugural Pacific Command Amphibious Leaders Symposium (PALS) aboard USS Essex for a day-long tour and amphibious raid demonstration.
The U.S. 7th Fleet AOR spans more than 48 million square miles from the Kurile Islands north of Japan to the Antarctic in the south and from the International Date Line to the 68th meridian east, which runs down the India-Pakistan border.
Image: US Navy