Peleliu ARG Completes Certification Exercise 
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Dustin Knight, USS Peleliu Public Affairs 
SAN DIEGO - The Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group and embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) returned to homeport San Diego, after completing certification exercise (CERTEX) off the coast of Southern California Aug. 28.

CERTEX was the final two-week training evolution that graded 15th MEU's capabilities to conduct amphibious maritime and sea-to-shore operations.

"The evolutions were designed to test the potential of the 15th MEU with regards to how they operated together with the Sailors to complete joint operations in their final work up before deployment," said Master Sgt. John Hilton, Amphibious Squadron 3's combat cargo assistant.

The Peleliu ARG is comprised of amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20), the amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47) and has the 15th MEU embarked throughout these three ships.

All three ships supported the exercise with the launching and recovery of helicopters and utility landing crafts through flight and well-deck operations. The crew of Peleliu was also prepared to receive mass evacuees and casualties.

"We played a vital role in the amphibious debarkation of the Marines," said Boatswain's Mate 1st Class David Fisher, Deck Department's 1st Division leading petty officer. "We made sure the line handlers performed to their upmost ability and verified that our well deck operations were flawless each time our utility landing crafts (LCUs) went out. "

CERTEX, much like prior pre-deployment exercises, is designed to build the Navy-Marine Corps' ability to work together and act in response to many different situations while deployed.

"I feel the certification exercise went well," said Hilton. "The Marines did a good job doing what they do on a regular basis in regards to mission readiness, planning and execution, as well as integrating with the Navy in order to make all those things happen."

Peleliu and 15th MEU will depart this fall for a scheduled Western Pacific deployment.

"There was great integration between the Marines and Navy and I feel like we're ready for any mission or evolution that we may have during the upcoming deployment," said Fisher. "We are ready for deployment but we will definitely miss our friends and family, but its all part of the job."
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