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USS Boxer to Deploy in Support of Global War on Terrorism

Navy Newsstand

Story Number: NNS040108-03

Release Date: 1/8/2004 1:47:00 PM

From Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- More than 200 Marines and 900 Sailors embarked aboard USS Boxer (LHD 4) will deploy Jan. 14 from San Diego to the Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II (OIF II) force rotation.

As part of the OIF II force rotation, Boxer is providing amphibious lift for a portion of the equipment and personnel from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (1 MEF) stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing stationed at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar, Calif.

Embarked personnel and equipment will include 16 CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 466, MCAS Miramar, Calif., associated equipment, maintenance personnel and aircrew.

For logistical support, Boxer will also deploy with two CH-46D Sea Knight helicopters from Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC) 11, Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., and three Landing Craft, Air Cushion from Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

The majority of Marines deploying from 1 MEF will depart later in the spring via air transport to join the equipment. Military Sealift Command is transporting additional equipment. The ability to deploy to points around the globe on short notice highlights the inherent flexibility of naval forces.

Boxer is scheduled to return to San Diego at the end of April after offloading embarked Marines and equipment in the CENTCOM AOR.

Boxer returned to San Diego July 26 from a 6 1/2-month deployment to the North Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Boxer Sailors were involved in the night rescue of former-POW Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch. The ship's intelligence specialists provided satellite imagery of the hospital and surrounding areas to Marine pilots who staged for the mission from Boxer. Boxer was in the Persian Gulf for the duration of Operation Iraqi Freedom, conducting coalition air control and identification, and providing sea-based support to Marine aviation units and U.S. and coalition ships in the region. Boxer Sailors also participated in mine countermeasure and small boat operations.

Boxer, 840 feet long and displacing approximately 40,500 tons, is the fourth ship in the Wasp-class of multi-purpose amphibious assault ships.

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