SAN DIEGO - Amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45) Sailors returned to homeport at Naval Base San Diego Sept. 30, after a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility (AOR).
Comstock, as part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (BOXARG), along with embarked Marines from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), began its deployment Feb. 22.
"Comstock with embarked Marine Corps elements returns from a highly successful deployment that crossed a wide spectrum of mission sets to include Navy and Marine Corps theater security cooperation events, maritime security operations, and the integration of a joint unmanned aerial vehicle," said Cmdr. Lance Lesher, commanding officer USS Comstock. "I could not be prouder of the performance of our amphibious team over the last seven months!"
Comstock's primary mission was to conduct maritime security operations and theater cooperation efforts as well as supporting the embarked Marines.
During its time spent in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR, Comstock participated in interoperability training operations and exercises with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and Oman. The ship operated independently for most of the deployment before reuniting with BOXARG ships prior to departing 5th fleet.
Commander Expeditionary Strike Group 3, Rear Adm. Gerard P. Hueber visited Comstock to welcome the crew back to San Diego and offer his congratulations on Sept. 29.
"Congratulations on an absolutely fabulous deployment," said Hueber, while addressing the crew. "You operated at the tip of the spear doing your war fighting mission and theater security cooperation efforts with some great port visits, welcome back to San Diego."
Comstock was also the ARG's platform for the Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle, which completed more than 800 flight hours providing persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) data to the ARG/MEU team.
In addition to completing its mission, Comstock made port visits to Salalah, Oman; Manama, Bahrain; Dubai, U.A.E.; Aqaba, Jordan; Phuket, Thailand; Hong Kong, Guam and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Crewmembers participated in a total of seven community service projects throughout the port visits.
BOXARG is led by Commander, Amphibious Squadron 1, and is comprised of amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) and Comstock. The ARG is comprised of more than 4,000 personnel with approximately 1,800 Sailors and 2,200 embarked Marines from the 13th MEU.
Other elements of BOXARG include Fleet Surgical Team 3, Tactical Air Control Squadron 11, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23, Det. 5, Assault Craft Unit 1, Det. C, Assault Craft Unit 5, Det. C and BMU 1, Det. E.