2/5/2018
USS America, 15th MEU Return from Deployment

After a seven-month deployment to the Indo-Pacific and Middle East regions, the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) and embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) returned home to San Diego, on Feb. 2. Through the duration of their deployment with the America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), Sailors and Marines aboard America conducted maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in support of regional security, stability, and the free flow of maritime commerce in the Pacific and Middle East.

"Our Blue-Green team proved themselves time and time again to be a professional and versatile contingency response force, whether it was at sea, in the sky, or on land,” said Capt. Rome Ruiz, commander, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 3. "As an amphibious task force, our ships gained extensive experience by working with various partner nations and ship platforms, which contributed to increasing the strength of our combat power.”

Following sustainment exercise (SUSTEX) in Hawaii, the crew conducted operations in the Indo-Pacific to include partner-nation training in Malaysia, military-to-military exchanges with Singapore, and supporting AV-8B Harrier and MV-22B Osprey operations in Yap and Palau. Upon their arrival to the Middle East, Sailors and Marines conducted the combat rehearsal Alligator Dagger to strengthen their capabilities as a crisis response and contingency force for the Central Command area of responsibility. Additionally, America had the opportunity to train alongside other naval vessels including the newly commissioned expeditionary support ship USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-3), as well as host Djibouti Chief of Defense, Lt. Gen. Zakaria Cheikh Ibrahim on board.

The ship visited several foreign ports throughout deployment, giving Sailors and Marines a valuable opportunity to experience new cultures and enjoy liberty while interacting with local communities and strengthening relationships with partner countries through tours and community outreach projects. The ship conducted port visits in Guam, Singapore, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Malaysia. At one of the largest air shows in the world, embarked aviation assets from America and 15th MEU had the unique opportunity to participate in the Dubai Air Show and host the kick-off reception onboard. HSC-23 and VMM-161 represented U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aviation strength at the air show. ​​

 

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At the completion of the ship’s first deployment, America’s Sailors and the 15th MEU Marines reunited with family and friends. "This crew grew exponentially in skill and professionalism,” said Capt. Joe Olson, commanding officer of America. “Our Sailors and the Marines of the 15th MEU fulfilled their tasking proficiently, effectively, and with heart. I am honored to have served with these men and women and we are excited to be home."

Throughout the course of the seven-month deployment, America traveled 42,911 nautical miles; processed 214,697 pounds of mail; conducted 5,075 flight deck landings, takeoffs and vertical replenishment drop off and pick-ups. The engineering department produced 16.34 million gallons of potable water; Sailors and Marines consumed 254,960 eggs; and the ship’s store sold $1,021,624.87 in merchandise.

The America ARG, commanded by PHIBRON 3, consists of the amphibious transport dock USS San Diego (LPD 22), the amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) and America. They operated with HSC-23 and detachments from Assault Craft Unit 5, Naval Beach Group 1, Beachmaster Unit 1, Fleet Surgical Team 1 and Tactical Air Control Squadron 11.

The 15th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force comprised of a ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 5th Marines; an aviation combat element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 (Reinforced); a combat logistics element, Combat Logistics Battalion 15. U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy. Third Fleet constantly coordinates with

U.S. 7th Fleet to plan and execute missions that promote ongoing peace, security, and stability throughout the Pacific.Surface Warfare Magazine

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