US Navy amphibious groups swap areas of operation

The USS Kearsarge-lead U.S. Navy amphibious group on April 5 departed the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operation, operating in the Persian Gulf, Red Sea and was substituted by the USS Boxer amphibious ready group.

While in the U.S. 5th Fleet, the Kearsarge ARG provided a forward naval presence supporting Operation Inherent Resolve and theater security cooperation efforts.

The Kearsarge ARG is comprised of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 4, amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge, amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington, amphibious dock landing ship USS Oak Hill, the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and other supporting elements.

The ARG’s aviation team joined the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant November 19, when AV-8B Harrier aircraft launched airstrikes from Kearsarge to conduct their first missions over Iraq and Syria in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. They concluded their OIR mission on March 10 with a total of 130 sorties and 60 strikes.

PHIBRON 4 Commander, Capt. Augustus P. Bennett: “During our support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the Navy and Marine Corps team worked together to conduct targeted airstrike operations in Syria and Libya as part of the comprehensive strategy to intensify and accelerate the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).”

During the deployment, Kearsarge held a change-of-command ceremony aboard the ship while moored at Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Nov. 25, when Capt. Larry G. Getz relieved Capt. David L. Bossert as commanding officer.

Kearsarge also found out the crew had earned the Battle Efficiency award for 2015.

The Kearsarge ARG now enters U.S. 6th Fleet waters to continue supporting theater security operations before completing its deployment.

The Kearsarge ARG is relieved by the Boxer ARG, composed of PHIBRON 1 and the 13th MEU. The Boxer ARG is composed of 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).

Boxer’s group came from the U.S. 7th Fleet where it recently participated in a bilateral exercise between the U.S. and Republic of Korea Navy, the Ssang Yong 2016.