U.S. Navy’s Makin Island amphibious ready group (ARG) entered Naval Station San Diego, May 15, returning from a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 3rd, 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation.
During the deployment, more than 4,500 sailors and marines of the Makin Island ARG and embarked 11th marine expeditionary unit (MEU) conducted maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions.
Makin Island ARG is comprised of amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45).
Throughout the U.S. Pacific and Central Command areas of responsibility, the ARG/MEU trained with partner militaries to enhance relationships with those nations and to strengthen proficiency in the execution of the full spectrum of amphibious operations. In 7th Fleet, Sailors and Marines worked with militaries and self-defense forces from Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Papua New Guinea. While in 5th Fleet the team participated in exercises with forces in Djibouti and Oman.
This was the third deployment for Makin Island, the seventh for Comstock, and the first for Somerset.
“I am very proud of Somerset’s Blue and Green Team and their ability to quickly adapt to changing mission sets on this deployment,” said Somerset commanding officer Capt. Darren Glaser. “From our participation in the first-ever theater security cooperation event with the newly-formed Sri Lankan Marine Corps, to our bilateral exercise with the Royal Omani Forces in Exercise Sea Soldier, and executing a range of amphibious operations in the Middle East, Somerset has worked extraordinarily hard during this deployment to accomplish every mission asked of us. The team can be proud that they truly lived up to the memory of this ship’s 9/11 namesake and set an incredibly high bar on Somerset’s maiden deployment.”
The ships visited several foreign ports throughout deployment, giving sailors and marines a valuable opportunity to experience new cultures and enjoy liberty while interacting with local communities and strengthening relationships with partner countries. The ships visited ports in Guam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Seychelles, Bahrain, and United Arab Emirates.
Aboard Makin Island, the ARG flagship, the crew consumed nearly a half-million eggs, 17,000 pounds of coffee, and 32,000 pounds of ground beef. The ship’s store sold $1.5 million in merchandise, the barber shop performed 8,000 haircuts, and the post office received 120,000 pounds of mail. The ship’s engineers produced more than 17 million gallons of fresh water for the crew, and the flight deck saw more than 6,000 successful aircraft launches and recoveries.