US Navy’s Makin Island ARG ready for deployment

U.S. Navy’s Makin Island amphibious ready group (ARG) completed a two-week certification exercise (CERTEX) off the coast of Southern California, September 22.

CERTEX is the final integrated training event for the Makin Island ARG and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) before deployment.

“The Makin Island ARG and 11th MEU performed especially well during CERTEX,” said Capt. Michael Crary, commander, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5. “The scenarios we faced during the evolution were realistic and represented the variety of situations we may encounter on deployment. We were tested on our ability to operate in an unpredictable environment, and the team did so effectively and with precision.”

The ARG-MEU team was evaluated on their responses to multiple scenarios, testing their ability to operate in several mission-critical areas including maritime boarding, combat flight operations, amphibious beach landings, air defense, mass casualty reception and treatment, and a noncombatant evacuation.

“The Marines and Sailors of the Makin Island ARG-11th MEU have demonstrated the ability to plan and execute a full range of missions from combat operations to humanitarian assistance with competence and professionalism,” said Marine Col. Clay C. Tipton, 11th MEU commanding officer.

The Makin Island ARG is commanded by Commander, Amphibious Squadron 5 and consists of Makin Island, San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Somerset (LPD 25), Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45) and more than 2,400 Marines from the 11th MEU.

The ARG-MEU team completed the first work-up phase, PHIBRON-MEU integration, in July, which presented their first opportunity to train together during staff-planning and amphibious landing exercises. The second phase, composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX), was completed in August and allowed the ARG-MEU team to refine their integrated approach to mission planning while cohesively conducting a variety of sea-based operations.

The Makin Island ARG and 11th MEU are making final preparations for an upcoming deployment.