USS Kearsarge departs U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations

The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (KSGARG) flagship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), and embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), departed the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations, April 25.

The KSGARG/MEU, comprised of embarked Marines from the 26th MEU, multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), is headed home to Virginia after a successful deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleets.

While in the U.S. 6th Fleet, Kearsarge visited the port of Valencia, Spain, where ship hosted a dinner reception on the flight deck for approximately 120 Spanish distinguished visitors and 100 crew members.

“The Kearsarge and MEU team had a wonderful port visit in Valencia and appreciate the people of this great city for giving us such a warm welcome,” said Capt. Larry G. Getz, commanding officer, USS Kearsarge. “The reception held on our flight deck was a great way to strengthen partnership with our Spanish counterparts as we continue to work together to promote peace and stability in Europe and the world.”

Additionally, while in port, Sailors and Marines took advantage of the opportunity to participate in several community relations events to include participating in a 5K walk/run for Autism Awareness as well as a visit to the Polytechnic University of Valencia where they interacted with the students and faculty.

Sailors and Marines aboard Oak Hill visited Lisbon, Portugal, during a scheduled port visit where the embarked 26th MEU Marines participated in a tactical exchange with the Portuguese Fuzileiro. The military-to-military cooperation is beneficial to strengthening our interoperability as allies.

As Kearsarge and Oak Hill were in port, Arlington stopped pulled pierside in Marseille, France, to enjoy some of the French culture the city had to offer. While in port, the crew attended a reception hosted by the Association France Etats-Unis, provided ship tours for the local media and participated in a community relations project with the Marseille Blue Stars American football team at a sports camp for kids.

“As the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group departs the 6th Fleet area of operations, the bonds with our European and African partners were made stronger,” said Capt. Augustus P. Bennett, commodore, Amphibious Squadron 4. “The Sailors and Marines embarked aboard USS Kearsarge, USS Arlington, and USS Oak Hill were able to participate in events with our partners throughout the region, including conducting community relations (COMREL), passing exercises, officer exchanges at sea, sporting competitions, hosting distinguished visitors and guests, and bilateral training ashore. Engagements conducted with our partners in Turkey, Tunisia, Spain, Portugal, and France help forge a strong Global Network of Navies needed to advance regional security and stability together with our allies.”

Image: US Navy