USS Essex starts ARGMEUEX with 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit

An F-35B Lighting II takes off from USS Essex (LHD 2) during training in March, 2018. US Navy file photo

US Navy ships from the Essex amphibious ready group (ARG) and marines assigned to 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) started one of the final preparatory exercises ahead of their deployment later this year.

The ARGMEUEX, an exercise led by Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 15 and 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, Expeditionary Operations Training Group, started off the coast of California on April 24.

It is designed to provide training and feedback prior to the deployment certifying event, Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX).

Essex ARG is commanded by Capt. Gerald Olin of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 1, and comprises amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD 23) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47).

Embarked commands include “Blackjacks” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21, Assault Craft Unit 5, Naval Beach Group 1, Beachmaster Unit 1, Fleet Surgical Team 3 and Tactical Air Control Squadron 11.

13th MEU is commanded by Col. Chandler Nelms and consists of the Command Element; the Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166 (Reinforced) and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211; the Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team 3/1 (Reinforced); and the Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 13.

“The ARGMEUEX training environment is designed to train the Essex ARG and 13th MEU Navy-Marine Corps team to think, plan and conduct tactical operations prior to the final deployment certifying event, COMPTUEX,” said Rear Adm. Bill Byrne, CSG 15’s commander.

This exercise follows the PHIBRON-MEU integration (PMINT) exercise, which concluded earlier this month.

The Essex ARG/13th MEU team is scheduled to deploy later this year. Upon completion of ARGMEUEX, they will move onto the next phase in the deployment certification process, COMPTUEX.

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