U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY -- The Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit departed the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) April 4, completing a regularly scheduled five-months of operations supporting maritime security operations and security cooperation objectives with partner nations in the region. Peleliu ARG entered the AOR Oct. 30, relieving the Iwo Jima ARG and served as a U.S. Central Command theater reserve force.
The ARG conducted several exercises in the AOR strengthening partnerships, reinforcing regional security, and promoting successful interoperability for the area. "We had many successes," said Capt. Shawn Lobree, commander, Amphibious Squadron Three. "We conducted a lot of very valuable unit level training but more importantly we supported a lot of real world missions and operations such as counter-weapons proliferation, special forces mission support, and contingency security reinforcement for several embassies and consulates, to name a few."
The ARG consists of Amphibious Squadron Three, amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20), and amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47) with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked throughout the ships. The MEU, comprised of approximately 2,400 Marines and Sailors, served as the nation's rapid-response, sea-based Marine Air Ground Task Force in the AOR.
"It has been my privilege to command the 15th MEU as we served as America's away team in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR," said Col. Scott D. Campbell, commanding officer, 15th MEU. "Our Marines and Sailors demonstrated their tenacity and resiliency during the fast-paced work-up that began more than a year ago. During our time in the AOR, our maritime warriors stood ready to support any number of missions across the range of military operations to resolve conflict, conduct humanitarian assistance or combat the enemy in remote, austere environments that would otherwise be inaccessible." Although the ARG entered the U.S. 5th Fleet together, it consistently found itself separated in order to accomplish its many obligations.
"We were literally pulled in three different directions," said Lobree. "It was a bit of a challenge to maintain awareness with the leadership both on the blue-side and green-side but, with the robust communication capability that the Peleliu [ARG] has, we were able to maintain proper command and control of events." Relieved by the Kearsarge ARG and the 26th MEU, the Peleliu ARG continues its deployment into the 7th Fleet area of responsibility. The Peleliu ARG and embarked 15th MEU provide a combat ready force for maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies in the Asian-Pacific region.