PACIFIC OCEAN – The amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) successfully completed a two-week Amphibious Squadron/Marine Expeditionary Unit (PHIBRON/MEU) Integrated Training (PMINT) exercise off the coast of Southern California April 14.
The overall mission of PMINT is to integrate the America crew and Marines assigned to 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in preparation for the ship’s maiden deployment this summer.
During the exercise, more than 1,000 Sailors from the America and 1,600 Marines integrated for the first time to complete total ship survivability trials and two simulated strait transits designed to test the ship’s ability to navigate channels in a defensive posture.
“We had a fantastic underway,” said Capt. Joseph Olson, America’s commanding officer. “Everyone worked real hard. We had great training as we get ready for deployment. It has also been great working with the Marines the last couple of weeks, and we are glad to have them on board as we get ready for deployment.”
PMINT is comprised of a three-phase evolution and is typically about two weeks of training exercises. The crew will go through certain qualifications and practice mission essential objectives such as amphibious assaults, transportation of vehicles, flight operations and flight deck qualifications. These operations better prepare Sailors and Marines through training to become a cohesive force in maritime and field operations.
“You don’t get anything done unless you work together, so it’s a team effort,” said PHIBRON 3 Commodore, Capt. Homer Denius. “The ARG/MEU is the definition of a team between the Marine Corps and the Navy which have very different cultures and missions that are brought together to enhance the overall mission of the Navy and Marine Corps.”
For both Sailors and Marines, the integration was a way for them to prepare for what may come later this summer during the ship’s maiden deployment.
“This is the first exercise for the AMA/ARG-MEU in a very arduous training cycle,” said Marine Corps Col. Joseph Clearfield, 15th MEU commanding officer. “But I get the impression this is going to be an epic team.”
America is the first ship of its class, replacing the Tarawa class of amphibious assault ships and is homeported in San Diego. As an aviation centric amphibious assault ship, this platform supports Marine aviation requirements, from small-scale contingency operations of an expeditionary strike group, to forcible entry missions in major theaters of war.