USS Oak Hill Prepares for Deployment

The Sailors and Marines of Commander, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 4 and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU) returned to Norfolk, Virginia, May 15, following a 12-day at-sea PHIBRON-MEU Integrated Training (PMINT) off the coast of North Carolina.

During the nearly two-week underway period, amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), the command ship for PHIBRON 4 and the 26th MEU, operated with amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24) and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) for the first of a three-phase certification process to test the Amphibious Ready Group’s (ARG) mission readiness.

ARGs and MEUs complete PMINT during their pre-deployment work-up cycle, and the overall focus is to facilitate integration of the Navy and Marine Corps blue-green team through staff planning exercises and an amphibious landing exercise.

Since PMINT was the ship’s first underway in nearly 70 days, Oak Hill’s task seemed that much more of a mountain to climb.

Oak Hill sailed south with the rest of the ARG and continued well-deck operations May 5, retrieving multiple landing craft air cushion (LCACs), unloading essential personnel and equipment for amphibious exercises and conducting essential flight operations for re-certification of the Oak Hill’s flight deck.

During PMINT, Oak Hill finished the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV), where the Operations department was inspected during a detect-to-engage exercise with the ship’s Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers and close-in weapon system (CIWS) mounts tracking an aircraft.

Oak Hill is scheduled to deploy later this year and will set out with a wide range of capabilities to conduct crisis response, noncombatant evacuation, aviation and amphibious operations.

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Image: US Navy