The Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) departed the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO) Nov. 1.
While on station in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOO, the ARG and MEU supported theater security cooperation efforts and provided a forward naval presence with crisis response, humanitarian assistance and combat capabilities.
The Fifth Fleet of the United States Navy is responsible for naval forces in the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean. It shares a commander and headquarters with U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.
The Essex ARG and 15th MEU deployed from San Diego, May 11 on a scheduled deployment.
The Essex ARG, commanded by Capt. Clint Carroll, includes the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), the amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD 23) and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47), as well as various supporting elements from Assault Craft Unit 5, Beachmaster Unit 1, Fleet Surgical Team 1, Tactical Air Control Squadron 11 and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21.
With the 5th Fleet behind them, the nearly 4,500 Sailors and Marines of the Essex ARG and 15th MEU enters the U.S. 7th Fleet AOO to continue operations there before completing their scheduled seven-month deployment.
Image: US Navy