SAN DIEGO — More than 4,500 Sailors and Marines from the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) departed San Diego for a deployment to the U.S. 3rd, 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operations (AOO), Feb. 12.
"The Boxer ARG, 13th MEU team has truly excelled in their preparation for deployment," said Capt. Keith Moore, Commander, Amphibious Squadron 1. "The Sailors and Marines of the ARG/MEU team are well trained and ready to deploy in support of all missions."
Before being certified to deploy, the individual ships and units of the ARG/MEU team were required to complete and pass four integrated and advanced training exercises that were designed to test and evaluate their capabilities during battle-force scenarios and real-world situations they may face while deployed.
"I echo the commodore's statements," stated Marine Col. Anthony Henderson, commanding officer, 13th MEU. "Whether a humanitarian assistance mission or combat operations, we are ready. An equally critical contribution to our nation's security is the presence and interaction of America's sons and daughters of this Navy-Marine Corps team around the world as representatives of freedom, liberty, and hope."
U.S. 3rd Fleet and I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) certified Boxer ARG and the 13th MEU to deploy after the ships and units successfully completed PHIBRON-MEU Integrated Training (PMINT), Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), Certification Exercise (CERTEX), and Sustainment Exercise (SUSTEX).
The mission of the Boxer ARG is to help provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the seas and provide humanitarian assistance/disaster response as well as support the Navy's Maritime Strategy when forward deployed.
The mission of the 13th MEU is to provide a forward deployed, flexible sea-based Marine Air Ground Task Force capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response and limited contingency operations, including enabling the introduction of follow on forces and designated special operations in order to support the theater requirements of Geographic Combatant Commanders.
While deployed, the ARG/MEU team serves as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious missions across the full range of military operations.
Also during deployment Boxer ARG and 13th MEU will participate in the Great Green Fleet, a yearlong initiative highlighting the Navy's efforts to transform its energy use to increase operational capability. Sailors and Marines will use energy efficiency measures, to include technologies and operational procedures, and alternative fuel in the course of its normal operations.
Boxer ARG comprises Amphibious Squadron (COMPHIBRON) 1 and the 13th MEU. COMPHIBRON 1 is composed of its command ship, amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), amphibious transport dock USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49).
The 13th MEU comprises a ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment; an aviation combat element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166 (Reinforced); a logistics combat element, Combat Logistics Battalion 13; and a command element.
The "Wildcards" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23 Detachment 1, homeported at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, will conduct flight operations with three MH-60S Knighthawks throughout the deployment. This armed helicopter detachment provides the following missions to the ARG/MEU: day and night defense of the amphibious task force, search and rescue (SAR), Helicopter Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (HVBSS), Special Operations Forces (SOF) support, personnel recovery (PR) missions, and logistics support.
Other elements of the BOXARG include: Fleet Surgical Team 3; Tactical Air Control Squadron 11; Assault Craft Unit 1; Assault Craft Unit 5, and Beachmaster Unit 1.