US Navy amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) joined the rest of the Wasp amphibious ready group (ARG) in Okinawa, Japan, arriving at White Beach Naval Facility to onload elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
The forward-deployed Green Bay joined the group after just completing a 5-month maintenance period and intensive training cycle in parallel to shipboard upgrades.
After embarking more than 2,300 marines and equipment of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), the three ships of the Wasp expeditionary strike group (ESG) departed Okinawa on March 19.
The ESG and the MEU are now deployed together for a routine patrol in the Indo-Pacific region meant to strengthen regional alliances and be postured forward in the event of a contingency.
“Once again the ARG [Amphibious Ready Group]-MEU team has come together as a well synchronized force to embark the MEU and deploy,” said Capt. Ed Thompson, commodore, Amphibious Squadron 11, the squadron overseeing the ESG. “The persistent nature of the close relationship of the ARG and the 31st MEU is our core competency. Having the MEU embarked enables our ships to be fully mission ready.”
As part of the initial phase of the patrol, the ships of the ESG and the MEU will practice these missions to ensure proficiency and integration in working together.
For the first time, the 31st MEU will conduct its missions with the F-35B Lighting II, which flew aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) on March 5. The fifth-generation aircraft can support precision strike, close-air-support for Marines inserted inland, and relay over-the-horizon information to aid the commander’s battlefield awareness.
In addition to the F-35B, the guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105) will support operations and practice missions that benefit the overall capability of the landing forces and survival ability of amphibious ships in the Blue Water domain.
Ships of the Wasp ESG consist of Wasp, amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48), amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20), and Dewey.