Essex ARG Arrives in Okinawa Blue-Green Workups
Story Number: NNS070202-02
Release Date: 2/2/2007 10:49:00 AM
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Adam R. Cole, Task Force 76 Public Affairs
OKINAWA, Japan (NNS) -- Ships and units of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ESXARG) arrived in Okinawa Jan. 29 through Feb. 1 to begin the onload of Marines and their equipment as the precursor to scheduled workups and subsequent spring patrol.
Nearly 4,000 Marines and Sailors will comprise the group, which features the flagship USS Essex (LHD 2), USS Tortuga (LSD 46), and USS Juneau (LPD 10), and embarked elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
Over the next few weeks, Sailors and Marines will conduct workups culminating in an ARG Evaluation Exercise (EVAL-EX) in the vicinity of Okinawa.
“Peace and stability in this region requires a continual watch -- the essence of this seasonal patrol,” said Capt. Anthony J. Pachuta, commodore, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11 and task group commander of the ESXARG. “We understand that disaster can happen any moment, thus we must be ready at all times to respond. These workups and then the patrol itself will focus on that ability to respond.”
Blue-green workups will consist of a number of amphibious operations, including mechanized and boat raids, as 31st MEU Marines become familiar with the sea-based strike platform that the ARG provides.
The EVAL-EX will have three readiness areas: non-combatant evacuation, humanitarian relief and disaster assistance, and casualty response.
The seasonal patrol comes on the heels of the ARG’s fall patrol, in which ships completed Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) FY 07 and several community projects in the Republic of Philippines.
Pachuta emphasized that along with the fall patrol, the key to training and effectiveness during the spring patrol will be the unity of the blue-green, Navy-Marine Corps team.
“The Marines possess a phenomenal capability to deliver strike capabilities as well as assist in crucial humanitarian operations. Such abilities are only truly realized within the partnership of the U.S. Navy,” said Pachuta. “Our Sailors train hard for this opportunity and are ready to meet the challenges required of amphibious operations.”
The Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ESXARG) is part of Task Force 76, the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force, which is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, with an operating detachment in Sasebo.
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