Boxer Amphibious Ready Group Completes CERTEX
151210-N-VS214-487 PACIFIC OCEAN (Dec. 10, 2015) Dock landing ship USS harpers Ferry (LSD 49) makes its approach alongside amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) during a replenishment at sea (RAS). The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) is underway off the coast of Southern California completing a certification exercise (CERTEX). CERTEX is the final evaluation of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU) and Boxer ARG prior to deployment and is intended to certify their readiness to conduct integrated missions across the full spectrum of military operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Zachary Eshleman/Released)
Boxer Amphibious Ready Group Completes CERTEX
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Eckelbecker
PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) successfully completed a two-week Certification Exercise (CERTEX), Dec. 16, off the coast of southern California. 

CERTEX is the final integrated-training event for the Boxer ARG and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). 

"The Boxer ARG/13th MEU team did a fantastic job during CERTEX," said Capt. Keith Moore, commander, Amphibious Squadron (CPR) 1. "We trained for a wide variety of scenarios that cover the full gamut of amphibious operations. I believe that the experience we gained from fighting the scenarios have made us a more capable combat force, ready for the challenges we will face in the 5th and 7th Fleets."

CERTEX is a comprehensive, complex training evolution that combines the Navy and Marine Corps maritime and ship-to-shore capabilities. 

"CERTEX was a great opportunity to learn and refine our methods during training, preparing us for potential real-world events," said Capt. Mike S. Ruth, commanding officer, USS Boxer (LHD 4). "It allowed our Navy and Marine Corps team to maintain a high state of readiness, and really shows how important each Sailor and Marine is to Boxer ARG's mission. I'm proud of the team and the training we accomplished."

With an ever-increasing focus on joint operations, the scenario allowed the different services the opportunity to train in a joint maritime operation.

"I don't really use the words 'blue/green team,'" said Marine Corps Col. Anthony M. Henderson, commanding officer, 13th MEU. "I call us a team. We're one force. I try every day not to see it as this side and that side that come together at a specific moment in time or a specific event. I see us as one force."

The ARG was evaluated on many different scenarios, testing their ability to operate in several mission-critical areas, including maritime boarding, combat flight operations, and civilian evacuation drills.

The ARG/MEU team completed the first phase known as Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON)-MEU Integrated Training (PMINT) in late-September, which gave the Blue/Green team their first opportunity to train together during staff-planning exercises and an amphibious-landing exercise. The second phase - Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) - was completed in mid-October, and allowed the Navy/Marine Corps team the opportunity to more fully integrate and cohesively conduct a variety of sea-based operations.

The Boxer ARG is commanded by Commander, Amphibious Squadron 1 and consists of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18), the Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49), and more than 2,600 Marines from the 13th MEU.

Additional Navy units assigned to and embarked aboard the Boxer ARG/MEU include Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 11, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23, and Naval Beach Group (NBG) 1 comprised of Assault Craft Units (ACU) 5 and 1, and Beachmaster Unit (BMU) 1. The 13th MEU is comprised of Marine forces from Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion 1st Marines (BLT 2/1), Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 166 (Reinforced), and Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 15.
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