OKINAWA, Japan – USS Germantown (LSD 42) arrived in White Beach, Okinawa to disembark components of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) after deployment with the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) in the Western Pacific, April 7.
Germantown and more than 300 Marines major accomplishment during the spring deployment included a multi-national bilateral military training exercise Cobra Gold 2011 in Thailand and a diplomatic port visit in Surabaya, Indonesia.
In the midst of the deployment a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in Japan made a sudden change in the schedule of all U.S. Navy ships operating in the Western Pacific region including Germantown to render emergency Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief support for Operation Tomodachi, off the northeast coast of Honcho Japan.
“I’m specially proud of the performance of our Marines and Sailors,” said Maj. Calvin Gadsen, commander of the embarked 31st MEU Combat Landing Battalion. “I’m proud of our ability to meet the challenges in the sudden changed of our tasking in our mission, this basically validates some of the training that we have conducted prior to the deployment and basically falls on one of our core competency, our ability to support a humanitarian assistance and to bring some of our capabilities that we have trained and put those skills to use.”
After leaving Okinawa, Germantown will proceed to Commander Fleet Activities Sasebo (CFAS) to commence a hull swap with USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 42), in which Germantown’s present crew will be assigned to Harpers Ferry, and the current crew of Harpers Ferry will be assigned to Germantown.
“The crew has performed spectacularly,” said Cmdr. Michael Crary, Germantown commanding officer. “I expect continued hard work and superb performance as we move on and execute the hull swap in the next few weeks.”
After the hull swap, Germantown will become a part of the forward deployed Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) in Sasebo, Japan.