Boxer ARG sailors leave 7th Fleet on way back home

USS Boxer (LHD 4) approaches port in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, Aug. 9, 2016. Photo: US Navy
USS Boxer (LHD 4) approaches port in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, Aug. 9, 2016. Photo: US Navy

The U.S. Navy’s Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) team is returning to the U.S. following a deployment that saw their forces operate in the 3rd, 5th, and 7th Fleet AOOs in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, theater security cooperation, and marine interdiction operations.

The Boxer ARG/13th MEU team entered 7th Fleet July 23 and conducted theater security cooperation exercises with Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, helping to enhance maritime partnerships and improve military cooperation throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

“This Western Pacific 16-1 deployment has demonstrated a significant high operational tempo,” said Col. Anthony Henderson, commanding officer of the 13th MEU. “We struck [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] (ISIL) militants in Iraq, trained with partner nations in nearly every time zone between Hawaii and Djibouti, Africa, conducted maritime security operations in the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Gulf, and we have had the opportunity to experience foreign cultures in 10 different countries during port calls.”

“Everyone is excited that we are getting closer to home and will soon be reunited with family and friends,” said Capt. Patrick Foege, commodore, Amphibious Squadron 1. “Our Sailors and Marines did incredible work throughout this deployment, from conducting strikes in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in 5th Fleet to promoting maritime security and freedom of the seas in 7th Fleet.”

While operating in 7th Fleet, Boxer conducted approximately 285 hours of flight operations, including 1,182 launches and recoveries encompassing 214 sorties and traveled approximately 9,511 nautical miles.

Sailors and Marines from the ARG/MEU team conducted port visits in Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Malaysia where they attended Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) sponsored tours and had the opportunity to volunteer their free time to participate in cultural exchange and community service events, like interacting with students in Genesis School for special education and serving food to senior citizens at Willing Hearts Soup Kitchen.

Boxer ARG is comprised of Amphibious Squadron (COMPHIBRON) 1, Boxer, amphibious transport dock USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49).