Essex Amphibious Ready Group completes final pre-deployment drill

Ships from the US Navy’s Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and Marines attached to 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) completed the composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) off the coast of Southern California, June 15.

The Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU), conduct a strait transit the Pacific Ocean, June 4, 2018. Photo: US Navy

COMPTUEX is a sea and land-based deployment certification event involving the full embarkation of the Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Essex ARG is commanded by Capt. Gerald Olin of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 1, and comprises amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD 23), and amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47).

“I couldn’t be more proud of the efforts of our sailors and our marines,” said Olin. “They have worked extremely hard as a fully integrated team over the past three months of fully integrated training and have proven their abilities to execute the entire mission set of the ARG/MEU team.”

During COMPTUEX, the Essex ARG and 13th MEU applied the lessons learned from ARG-MEU exercise, concluded last month, to improve and prove their readiness to deploy.

The team had to prove their ability to deploy by conducting exercises in providing humanitarian assistance, non-combatant evacuation, assisting the State Department, maritime interdiction operations, anti-piracy operations, close-air support, air assaults, reconnaissance, and amphibious landings with the integrated Marine forces.

The distinct ability of amphibious forces to gain access to critical areas anywhere in the world with ground, air and logistics forces enables our team to shape actions across the range of military operations to resolve conflict, conduct humanitarian assistance or combat the enemy in remote, austere environments that would otherwise be inaccessible.

The Essex ARG and 13th MEU team will be the first state-side deployed unit to integrate the fifth-generation capabilities of the Marine’s F-35Bs on a long-term combat deployment to US 5th Fleet later this year.