The U.S. Navy’s Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) entered the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations Feb. 21, 2018.
While in theater, the blue-green team’s 4,500 Sailors and Marines will train with international militaries and help ensure naval superiority in the area of operations.
“Being in the U.S. 6th Fleet allows the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group to operate closely with our allies and bring us closer to achieving our common goal of maintaining a secure maritime environment. We look forward to strengthening longstanding relationships with our friends through the exchange of ideas and best practices”, said Capt. Jack Killman, Commodore, Amphibious Squadron 4.
“The ARG/MEU team is a truly unique capability that provides the commander of U.S. 6th Fleet forces at a high state of readiness, capable of rapid response, and flexible enough to operate across the range of military operations. As a sea-based naval force, we operate at sea, from the sea, and ashore without the constraints of requiring shore based infrastructure to introduce our forces, and we self-sustain from ARG shipping. We stand ready to conduct the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, in concert with allied and interagency partners, to meet the U.S. 6th Fleet Commander’s priorities”, said U.S. Marine Col. Farrell J. Sullivan, Commanding officer of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The Iwo Jima ARG embarks the 26th MEU and includes the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), the Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 8 and FST-4, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, Tactical Air Control Squadron 22, components of Naval Beach Group 2 and the embarked staff of Commander, Amphibious Squadron 4.
The 26th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) comprised of approximately 2,500 Marines and Sailors. Its major elements are the Command Element, Ground Combat Element, Aviation Combat Element, and Logistics Combat Element.