Amphibious Squadron ONE
Amphibious Task Force - West
Amphibious Squadron ONE's primary mission is to plan and execute amphibious operations including embarkation, transit to an objective area, and assault under combat conditions employing the latest and most effective amphibious force doctrine. COMPHIBRON ONE is prepared to perform a variety of tasks to support operational requirements and to control ships and forces when assigned for operations, exercises and deployments.
Since the afloat forces administrative reorganization in August 1986, the mission and functions of COMPHIBRON ONE as an assault squadron have changed in that ships are no longer permanently assigned. COMPHIBRON ONE is prepared to perform tasks across a wide operational spectrum supporting contingency requirements and controlling ships and forces during operations, exercises, and deployments.
A tactical amphibious squadron's organization is unique. Ships are assigned periodically to one of the tactical squadrons for specific operations or for temporary administrative purposes. The squadron staff functions for the commander in the operational readiness of each ship. The amphibious squadron commander with his staff is charged with responsibilities for planning and executing amphibious operations and deployments with a reinforced Marine Battalion.
The amphibious squadron staff is capable of planning and executing amphibious assaults at the Marine Expeditionary Unit level with augmenting detachments from a Tactical Air Control Squadron, Naval Beach Group, Special Warfare Group, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team, and Fleet Surgical Team. Additionally it serves as Naval Forces Commander in various Joint Task Force Operations.
Amphibious Ready Groups from the Naval Surface Force, U. S. Pacific Fleet normally deploy to the Western Pacific. However, other regions in the Pacific Fleet area of responsibility are often included. The Amphibious Ready Group's capabilities range from providing medical supplies, personnel and food for evacuation in the event of natural disaster, to landing combat ready Marines ashore.
Amphibious Squadron ONE was established 1 October 1954, and has been homeported in San Diego, California. Amphibious Squadron ONE has participated in numerous worldwide amphibious operations in war and peace. The Operations have been varied and wide-ranging including: evacuation of the Tachen Islands in 1955; support of national policy during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962; Operation END SWEEP, (the clearance of mines from North Vietnamese waters) in 1973; Operation EAGLE PULL (the evacuation of Saigon) in 1975; numerous KANGAROO and VALIANT USHER exercises in Australia; TEAM SPIRIT exercises in Thailand and Somalia as well as in Hawaii and Southern California. In 1983, COMPHIBRON ONE's Amphibious Ready Group ALPHA became the first Pacific Fleet amphibious squadron to transit the Suez Canal for duty supporting the Multi-national Peacekeeping Forces in Beirut, Lebanon under the operational control of Commander, Sixth Fleet. During the Western Pacific deployment in 1986, Amphibious Squadron ONE and the THIRTEENTH Marine Amphibious Unit operated the Mastiff Remotely Piloted Vehicle from USS TARAWA (LHA 1). This was the Navy's first deployment of the unmanned drone aboard a Navy ship.
COMPHIBRON ONE was awarded the Navy and Meritorious Unit Commendations for participation in Operations EAGLE PULL and FREQUENT WIND. Indian Ocean operations during the period of 8 August through 30 September 1980 earned COMPHIBRON ONE the Navy and Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal. Contingency operations in the Eastern Mediterranean in 1983 earned the Squadron the Navy Expeditionary Medal and a second award for the Meritorious Unit Commendation. In 1990, world events necessitated a larger force requirement in the Arabian Gulf in which COMPHIBRON ONE formed the centerline of a 13-ship Amphibious Task Force, the largest West Coast deployment from the United States since 1965. COMPHIBRON ONE was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation, Southwest Asia Service Medal, and the Kuwait Liberation medal for its support of Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. COMPHIBRON ONE earned its second Navy Unit Commendation during WESTPAC 97 for participation in Operations SOUTHERN WATCH, SILENT ASSURANCE and Exercises NEON FALCON and EAGER MACE.
The Peleliu ARG consisted of USS Peleliu (LHA 5), USS Denver (LPD 9) and USS Anchorage (LSD 36), homeported in San Diego. Embarked in the ARG was the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable). As of February 1996 the Peleliu ARG was operating in the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch enforcing U.N. sanctions against Iraq in conjunction with the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Battle Group.
Peleliu (LHA 5) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) -- By mid-1997 USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Battle Group, USS Peleliu (LHA 5) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) had completed Pacific Joint Task Force Exercise 97-2 (JTFEX 97-2) which certified each element as ready to deploy in the fall. USS Nimitz Battle Group and USS Peleliu ARG replaced the USS Constellation Battle Group and USS Boxer ARG on a six-month deployment. Peleliu ARG deployed 28 August 1997 and the Nimitz Battle Group deployed 01 September 1997. Peleliu deployed with USS Comstock (LSD 45), USS Juneau (LPD 10) and Marines of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable).
The three-ship USS Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), commanded by Captain William F. Hopper, Commander, Amphibious Squadron One, departed Naval Station San Diego 21 June 1999 for a routine, six-month deployment to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf. Amphibious Ships USS Peleliu (LHA 5), USS Ogden (LPD 5) and USS Rushmore (LSD 47) deployed with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Special Operations Capable (SOC). All of the ships are homeported at Naval Station San Diego. Peleliu ARG, with more than 5,000 Sailors and Marines, operated and took part in amphibious exercises with allies in the Pacific and Arabian Gulf. During the deployment, the ships visited ports in Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Thailand and the Arabian Gulf. In July 1999 U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Midget (WHEC 726) joined the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) for operations enroute to the Arabian Gulf. This was the first time since World War II that a Coast Guard cutter had joined a Navy amphibious group for real-world operations. During the deployment which concluded 21 December 1999, COMPHIBRON ONE, as Commander of the PELELIU Amphibious Ready Group, participated in Operation STABILISE in East Timor, providing heavy lift and humanitarian assistance to an Australian-led coalition force. COMPHIBRON ONE also executed Exercises IRON MAGIC 99 and RED REEF 10 in the Arabian Gulf. As the Officer Conducting the Exercise for RED REEF, the Squadron directed the largest amphibious exercise in Saudi Arabia since the Gulf War including participation by 13 U.S. and Saudi ships, a submarine, helicopters and carrier airwing aircraft.
On January 17, 2003 PHIBRON ONE departed San Diego as the Commander of Amphibious Task Force - West headed towards the Persian Gulf. The Task Force was comprised of 2 LHDs, 2 LPDs, and 3 LSDs. These ships carried roughly 7,500 Marines from I Marine Expeditionary Force.
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