USS Fort McHenry and the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) entered the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations Dec. 25 to conduct a scheduled deployment.
During its time in theater, the ARG/MEU team and its more than 4,500 Sailors and Marines are prepared to conduct a variety of missions, including maritime security operations, crisis response and theater security cooperation.
“The Kearsarge ARG is prepared to conduct a variety of missions, including maritime security operations, crisis response and theater security cooperation,” said Capt. Daniel Blackburn, commander of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 6. “This deployment will deepen operational relationships with other services, agencies, allies and partners who operate with the Navy to support our shared interests.”
The Kearsarge ARG consists of the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), the amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24), the dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 2 and FST 8, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26, Tactical Air Control Squadron 21, components of Naval Beach Group 2 and the embarked staff of Amphibious Squadron 6.
The 22nd MEU includes a command element, ground command element, aviation command element and logistics command element.
“The 22nd MEU is a highly capable and responsive sea-based Marine Air-Ground Task Force, forward deployed to provide a credible military presence in support our nation’s defense,” said Col Michael Perez, 22 MEU commanding officer. “Teaming with the Kearsarge ARG, we look forward to training with allied and partner military forces while also providing versatile, amphibious response options to our combatant commanders as we face myriad global challenges.Though we are deployed during the holidays, the Marines and Sailors of this team have trained hard for this opportunity to serve and remain focused on our mission.”
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.