USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and USS New Orleans (LPD 18) transit off the coast of Southern California.   

PACIFIC OCEAN (Oct. 11, 2011) - The amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), front, the amphibious assault ship Makin Island USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) transit off the coast of Southern California. The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group is underway for a certification exercise preparing for an upcoming deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist John Lill/Released)
Makin Island ARG Completes CERTEX 
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Stephen D. Doyle II, Amphibious Squadron 5 Public Affairs 
SAN DIEGO - Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) returned to homeport Oct. 13 after completing a 12-day certification exercise (CERTEX) with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) off the coast of Southern California.

CERTEX took place from Oct. 1-12 and was the final phase in a complex training series used to evaluate and prepare ARGs before deploying overseas.

Makin Island ARG is comprised of the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), which serves as the command ship for Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5 and the 11th MEU, as well as the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Pear Harbor (LSD 52).

"I think the ARG was very successful in the CERTEX, the third event of the basic training cycle that prepares us for deployment," said Capt. Humberto L. Quintanilla II, PHIBRON 5 commander. "It's a strong team, both blue and green. Pear Harbor has joined us in the ARG and we are meeting all the missions that are being levied upon us."

The ARG was evaluated on many different scenarios that test their ability to operate in several mission critical areas, ranging from maritime boarding to amphibious landings, raids and civilian evacuation drills.

"We're in a high state of readiness," said Quintanilla. "I would offer that if something were to go wrong and we were needed tonight, that we could set sail for wherever national command authority wanted us to go, and that we would be able to successfully complete any and all missions that were assigned to the Makin Island ARG."

Quintanilla said that with three major pre-deployment exercises completed, the Makin Island ARG is now ready for its scheduled deployment later in the year.

"I think the deployment is going to go well," said Quintanilla. "I think that there are missions to be completed out there in the global war on terrorism, and if they're assigned to us, that we are going to be successful in planning and executing those missions."

Commissioned in 2009, Makin Island is the Navy's newest amphibious assault ship capable of utilizing surface and air assets to move Marine forces ashore. The ship is named in honor of the daring World War II raid carried out by Marine Raider Companies A and B, Second Raider Battalion, on Japanese held Makin Island Aug. 17-18, 1942. LHD 8 is the second ship to bear the name "USS Makin Island."
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