OKINAWA, Japan (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), lead ship of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group (PEL ARG), embarked the Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7 for patrol in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
"It's great to be back at sea with our Sailors and Marines," said Rear Adm. Hugh D. Wetherald, commander, ESG 7. "They demonstrate every day the exceptional dedication and capability of the 7th Fleet amphibious force and the important role we have in maintaining security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region."
ESG 7 is 7th Fleet's U.S. amphibious force and is responsible for conducting expeditionary warfare operations that support a full range of theater contingencies, ranging from humanitarian and disaster relief operations, to full combat operations as well as a number of bilateral and multilateral exercises each year.
Peleliu recently completed Advanced Integration Training with the 31st MEU, and is preparing for Certification Exercise (CERTEX), where the embarked Marines will conduct advanced amphibious operations such as beach landings utilizing assault amphibious vehicles, landing craft utilities, as well as joint flight operations.
CERTEX will offer Peleliu and the 31st MEU a chance to strengthen mission readiness and build on the Navy's forward presence.
"CERTEX gives the PEL ARG and 31st MEU the opportunity to practice in a combined and joint environment and is designed to increase both units' effectiveness," said Capt. Paul C. Spedero, Peleliu's commanding officer. "We are one team with one fight, and I am confident that this team will excel in all areas of the exercise. I look forward to meeting the challenges ahead of us."
Peleliu is on its final regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment in the 7th Fleet AOR supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-pacific region before decommissioning early next year.