The Virginia-based Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group has been replaced in the Middle East by a San Diego-based group as it finishes up a planned seven-month deployment, according to the Navy. The Kearsarge group arrived in the Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday, the same day the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group arrived in the Navy's Fifth Fleet primary area of responsibility, the Middle East. The Kearsarge group is composed of the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge, amphibious transport dock USS Arlington and amphibious dock landing ship USS Oak Hill. The Kearsarge and Arlington are based at Norfolk Naval Station, while the Oak Hill's home is at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach. About 2,200 members of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., are embarked with the group. Marine aircraft began launching strikes in November against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. The Navy said in a statement that the aircraft finished their mission March 10 with a total of 130 sorties and 60 strikes. "I am extremely proud of the Kearsarge Sailors and Marines who have put so much hard work and effort into our ship and its mission during this deployment," Kearsarge commanding officer, Capt. Larry G. Getz, said in a statement. The Kearsarge ARG left Virginia in October.
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