The Flagship newspaper
Kearsarge ARG enters U.S. 5th Fleet
RED SEA — The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (KSGARG) entered the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations Oct. 31, after completing theater security operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet.
The KSGARG is comprised of the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), the amphibious transport dock USS Arlington (LPD 24), amphibious dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
“The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group is entering the U.S. 5th Fleet, committed to maintain a naval and air presence that upholds lawful maritime order and deters all destabilizing activities,” Kearsarge’s Commanding Officer Capt. David L. Bossert said. “Our relationships with the nations in the Gulf are one of cooperation and understanding and it is through that cooperation that our mission will be effective.”
While in the U.S. 6th Fleet, Kearsarge completed exercise Egemen 2015, a four-day Turkish-led exercise that allowed the U.S. and Turkey to build joint expeditionary capabilities, in order to increase interoperability and enhance security throughout the region.
“We are committed to improving our relationships and capabilities with allies across NATO, that is why we participated in EGEMEN with the Turkish navy and we plan to continue to strive towards that goal as we move into [U.S.] 5th Fleet,” Bossert said.
“Egemen 2015 was a huge success demonstrating our ability to project forces ashore from both sea and air to promote security and stability in the Eastern European region,” Capt. Augustus P. Bennett, commodore, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 4 said. “The exercise reinforced our commitment as allies.”
For Arlington, the deployment marks the ship’s maiden voyage. During the ship’s time in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operation, it completed a four-day multi-national exercise Trident Juncture 2015.
Trident Juncture is a NATO-led exercise, designed to certify NATO response forces and develop interoperability among participating NATO and partner nations.
“It is amazing to watch two nation’s Marine forces operate so seamlessly together. The shared professionalism and commitment to mission between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Portuguese Fuzeleiros easily overcomes any language barriers or differences in equipment or experience,” Arlington’s Commanding Officer Capt. Sean Bailey said. “The ability to conduct large scale exercises such as Trident Juncture 2015, to help refine our ability to operate together, is one of the great strengths of NATO and one that assures the alliance’s viability.”
While in U.S. 5th Fleet, Oak Hill is expected to conduct a wide range of missions to include maritime security operations and ship-to-shore movements.
“The men and women of the ‘Mighty Oak’ are excited to arrive in ]U.S.] 5th Fleet and we look forward to taking the watch and patrolling these vital waterways for the greater good of all mariners, as well as working with our partner nations in the region,” Oak Hill’s Commanding Officer Capt. Orlando Bowman said. “More than 500 ships will sail through these waters on a weekly basis. Maritime security operations help to ensure that the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, and the Arabian Sea remain a safe and prosperous area for all mariners with legitimate business while traveling these waterways. We, as a part of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group, remain a flexible and persistent force, ready to defend America at all times.”
The KSGARG and the 26th MEU are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operation as part of a scheduled deployment in support of maritime security operations.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet, visit navy.mil/local/cusnc.