Iwo Jima amphibious group ready for deployment

USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) approaches the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Big Horn (T-AO 198) during a replenishment-at-sea in November 2017. Photo: US Navy

The US Navy amphibious ready group (ARG) assembled around the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima is ready to deploy after tackling the final pre-deployment hurdle.

Sailors aboard the three ships constituting the ARG completed a combined composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) December 9, proving they are ready to deploy.

Iwo Jima is the lead ship of the Iwo Jima amphibious ready group (ARG), which is also composed of the transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 8, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron-28, Tactical Air Control Squadron-22, components of Naval Beach Group 2 and the embarked staff of Amphibious Squadron 4.

Iwo Jima departed its homeport of Naval Station Mayport, Oct. 28 for the exercise, which served as the culmination of training for the Navy-Marine Corps team and readied them for deployment taking place early next year.

During the 37 days underway, marines and sailors from all units worked together to surpass the presented scenarios.

The exercise fully integrated the sailors and marines as an amphibious force by testing their ability to execute a wide-range of military operations. The crews participated in a variety of training events that included live fire exercises, detainee handling operations, counter piracy boarding drills, two simulated strait transits; landing craft, air cushion operations; and multiple combat systems, air and missile defense exercises.

“This is our main integration with the Marines and it was high-tempo right from the start. All our previous training ensured we were well prepared us for the exercise. I’m extremely proud of the Navy and Marine Corps teams’ performance throughout Combined COMPTUEX,” said Capt. Joseph O’Brien, Iwo Jima’s commanding officer.

Iwo Jima is scheduled to return to its homeport to conduct its final continued maintenance availability period prior to deploying early 2018.

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