The U.S. Navy’s amphibious dock landing ship, USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) departed Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Norfolk, Virginia, to participate in Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s (MEU) Combined Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) off the coast of North Carolina, on Nov. 13.
Nearly 400 Sailors and Marines are embarked aboard Oak Hill for COMPTUEX, a six-week exercise designed to certify the ARG as a deployment-ready fighting force capable of completing operations in overseas theaters.
“This exercise capitalizes on the basic building blocks from our earlier training to prepare us to deliver military capability and support anywhere in the world,” said Cmdr. Nakia Cooper, Oak Hill’s commanding officer.
Oak Hill returned home Oct. 29 after providing hurricane relief efforts for two months in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin islands. Combined COMPTUEX began Nov. 3, and the ship is joining the exercise in progress following its completion of routine maintenance.
Combined COMPTUEX is the final event for ARG Sailors to operate as a team and integrate with Marines from the 26th MEU before deployment. The exercise develops Sailors’ skills in a multitude of areas including air defense, weapons handling, seamanship and boarding operations.
“We look forward to further integrating with the Iwo Jima ARG and 26th MEU team, as we exercise the various capabilities that this great warship and team have to offer,” said Cooper.
The Iwo Jima ARG embarks the 26th MEU and is comprised of the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), the dock transport ship USS New York (LPD 21), Oak Hill, Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 8, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 22, components of Naval Beach Group (NBG) 2 and the embarked staff of PHIBRON 4.
Mass Comm. Specialist Seaman Jessica Dowell, Iwo Jima ARG