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Boxer ARG Returns to San Diego

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS160912-25
Release Date: 9/12/2016 3:00:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Matthew N. Jackson, USS Boxer (LHD 4) Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group returned to their homeport of San Diego, Sept. 12, following a seven-month deployment to U.S. 7th Fleet, 5th Fleet and 3rd Fleet areas of operation.

"The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit team excelled throughout this 213-day deployment while operating in three Navy fleets spanning two-thirds of the globe," said Commander, Amphibious Squadron 1 Capt. Patrick V. Foege. "The ARG/MEU conducted 19 exercises and seven operations with coalition and partner nations across the Indo-Asia Pacific, Southwest Asia, and the Horn of Africa. From promoting regional stability and free use of the seas in 7th Fleet to striking ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) targets while in 5th Fleet, the ARG/MEU accomplished all mission objectives while strengthening our relationships with 15 different countries from South Korea to Jordan."

Boxer ARG is made up of amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), amphibious transport dock USS New Orleans (LPD 18), and amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49). During deployment, they operated with embarked forces of the 13th MEU, the "Wild Cards" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23, Detachment 1, as well as detachments from Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 1 and ACU 5. Additional detachments include Fleet Surgical Team 3 and Tactical Air Control Squadron 11.

The 13th MEU is comprised of Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment; Air Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166 (Reinforced) and Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 13.

"My proudest moment, along with the exercises and operations we have done, has been the experiences the Marines and Sailors have had engaging around the world," said Col. Anthony Henderson, commanding officer of the 13th MEU. "These are unique experiences that I hope each man and woman will recognize as such and as they continue to serve, encourage and motivate future generations."

Additionally, Boxer ARG and 13th MEU took part in numerous exercises, including Exercise Ssang Yong, all while strengthening the interoperability and working relationships between the services and partner nations.

"The Marines were eager to step up and help defend Boxer, which is our home here, and so they stepped in and supported the defense of the ship with their aircraft and with their Marines, and really helped augment the 'blue side' defending the ship as we transited -- whether it was through 7th Fleet or through 5th Fleet," said Capt. Mike Ruth, commanding officer of Boxer. "We really came together as a team, so we don't really call it blue and green anymore; we just call it team, and we're one team out here."

Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 1st Class Scott Moore said he appreciates the sacrifices made by friends and family members who helped support the crew members of Boxer ARG.

"I'm nervous, anxious, and excited at the same time," said Moore, a married father of three. "I've changed and they've changed; seven months is a long time. I'm proud as a husband and father they have made it through deployment. I'm most proud of my wife for maintaining the crazy schedule of school, sports, shopping, cleaning, church and the non-stop schedule for our three sons. She's an angel to have the type of patience and determination that she has for our children."

Throughout deployment, Boxer ARG transited nearly 150,000 nautical miles, flew 3,000 sorties, conducted 10,500 safe aircraft launches and recoveries, and logged more than 4,200 flight hours. Amphibious craft completed more than 8,000 passenger transfers and moved more than 39.5 million pounds of combat power during more than 100 ship-to-shore movements. Boxer ARG also purchased more than $4.6 million of supplies and food stores, receiving more than 8,400 pallets during 57 replenishments-at-sea. More than 10,000 patients received medical care -- including nearly 100 medical evacuations, crew members received more than 6,000 haircuts, and supported the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation fund by purchasing more than 200,000 energy drinks.

Additionally, the ships conducted 13 different port visits, providing Sailors and Marines with an opportunity to broaden cultural knowledge and strengthen interoperability with partner nation forces. Sailors volunteered at 21 community service events, including six Project Handclasp donation deliveries, and doubled 2015's contribution record of $24,234 to the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society by donating $50,302 for 2016.

Sailors and Marines also had the opportunity to interact with counterparts through military exchanges with the Republic of Korea navy and marine corps, and sailors from the Republic of Singapore armed forces and the Royal Malaysian navy.

While deployed, the Boxer ARG/13th MEU team served in the U.S. 3rd, 5th, and 7th Fleet Areas of Operation, providing maritime security operations, crisis response capability, theater security cooperation and forward naval presence.

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