Essex ARG visits Hawaii on return leg of 8-month deployment

Sailors salute the USS Missouri Battleship Memorial while manning the rails of Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) as it pulls into Pearl Harbor. Photo: US Navy

Ships from the US Navy’s Essex amphibious ready group (ARG) assembled around Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) paid a two-day visit to Pearl Harbor on February 18.

Transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23), amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47), USS Essex and the embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) visited Hawaii on the return leg of their deployment to the Western Pacific and Middle East.

“Pearl Harbor is rich in military history and its strategic location places it center stage in the Pacific,” said Capt. Gerald Olin, commander, Amphibious Squadron 1. ” The harbors and bases the Navy uses here are among the very best in the world and help ensure that naval forces in the Pacific are trained and ready to respond to any contingency. We are glad to have an opportunity to visit this wonderful port and help strengthen the Navy’s iron-clad relationship with Hawaii.”

While in Hawaii, the ships brought aboard friends and family members, known as “tigers.” During the Tiger Cruise, sailors and marines will have the chance to show their “tigers” what life on aboard a navy ship is like.

USS Essex started the deployment from San Diego in July 2018, after completing a refit that allowed it to carry the fifth-generation F-35B fighter jets.

During their deployment the Navy, Marine Corps team participated in amphibious exercises with partner nations in the 6th, 7th and 5th Fleet areas of operation. Additionally, this deployment marked the first time the F-35B, Lightning II conducted combat operations in the Central Command area of responsibility.

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