The PELELIU Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) for key contributions to national defense and humanitarian assistance rendered during a 2010 deployment to 5th fleet. The commands in the PELELIU ARG included the flagship, USS PELELIU (LHA 5), as well as USS DUBUQUE (LPD 8), USS PEARL HARBOR (LSD 52) and the embarked Naval Support Elements from BEACH GROUP ONE, BEACH MASTER UNIT ONE, ASSAULT CRAFT UNITS THREE and FIVE, and HSC-23.
The award citation highlighted the following achievements: Humanitarian Assistance / Disaster Relief Operations conducted in Pakistan in response to unprecedented flooding throughout the country; the re-capture of the pirated merchant ship M/V MAGELLAN STAR in the Gulf of Aden in early September; the rescue of 62 people rescued at sea in the Gulf of Aden in late September; and to support of combat operations in Afghanistan.
After suffering catastrophic flooding throughout Pakistan, the ARG was one of the first responders tasked with assisting in relief efforts. PELELIU established an afloat forward staging base and two forward operating bases in-land to coordinate efforts with the embarked Marine Expeditionary Unit, 15th MEU. During 79 days off the Pakistani coast, the ARG / MEU team used 19 medium and heavy lift helicopters to transport six million pounds of food and relief supplies into the country, and assisted with rescue or relocation of 9000 survivors.
The PELELIU ARG also executed the first joint Navy-Marine Corps enhanced boarding of a pirated vessel, M/V MAGELLEN STAR, which was hijacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden. The efforts by the Navy and Marine Corps boarding teams from USS DUBUQUE resulted in the re-establishing control of the captured vessel, the capture of nine pirates and the freeing of eleven crew members.
The ARG’s distinctive accomplishments extended further during their embarkation of 62 rescued persons at sea, whose boat had capsized and sunk in the Gulf of Aden. PEARL HARBOR took the survivors onboard, established temporary living conditions and provided meals, medical care, and other basic needs for over 30 days.
These remarkable feats by the Sailors and Marines of the PELELIU ARG once again demonstrated the flexibility with which our Navy and Marine Corps act as a “Global Force for Good.”