Kearsarge ARG, 26th MEU Transit Suez Canal

Kearsarge ARG, 26th MEU Transit Suez Canal

The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) completed a scheduled transit of the Suez Canal and entered the Red Sea, April 5.

Dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) led amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), flagship of the group, and amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17) through the 673-foot wide channel.

Commodore Brad Skillman, commander of the Kearsarge ARG, said the transit was conducted as part of the group’s regularly scheduled deployment to the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.

“This group of Sailors and Marines conducted a textbook transit,” said Skillman. “The overall objective was to conduct a safe evolution and I am very happy with the end result.”

Sailors aboard Kearsarge took the opportunity to view the coastline of Egypt as the ship transited the canal.

“It was interesting to see all of the multi-national shipping traffic,” said Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Edward Hurley, a native of Lexington, N.C. “But it’s always challenging, operationally. I felt proud to maintain a long-lived naval tradition by transiting the canal.”

The Suez Canal is a 120-mile long artificial channel connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Its narrow width limits traffic to one-way travel at any given time, with only two points wide enough to allow passing.

Kearsarge is the flagship for the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

Naval Today Staff, April 9, 2013; Image: US Navy