Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group (VINCSG) and Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ESX ARG) completed joint expeditionary strike force training operations in the South China Sea, Jan. 16.
The training operations included integrated maritime strike missions, maritime interdiction operations, anti-submarine warfare, replenishment-at-sea and formation maneuvering/navigation operations. These operations are the latest events in strengthening naval readiness and interoperability in the Indo-Pacific region.
The ESX ARG brings a host of Marine Corps air support to the operations including the “White Knights” of Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 165 (Reinforced) and the “Black Sheep” of Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 214. The “White Knights” operate the MV-22B Osprey, UH-1Y Venom, AH-1Z Viper and the CH-53E Super Stallions while the “Black Sheep” operate the AV-8B Harrier.
“Our ability to quickly and effectively integrate with an amphibious ready group, such as ESX ARG, demonstrates a diverse level of naval lethality that is unlike any other naval force,” said Rear Adm. Dan Martin, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1.
“The long-range strike capability of the Vinson Strike Group combined with the Essex ARG’s potential to deliver a payload of Marines to any maritime region greatly contributes to the U.S. strategic ability to continue defending a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
The ESX ARG is the first amphibious group to operate alongside the “advanced Air Wing of the Future” (CVW 2). CVW-2 is currently embarked aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). The advanced Air Wing of the Future includes the capabilities of the F-35C Lightning II, operated by the “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 and the CMV-22B Osprey, operated by the “Titans” of Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 30. Vinson, the flagship of VINCSG deployed in August 2021.
“Our opportunity to conduct integrated operations with Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group this past week showcases the U.S. Navy’s commitment to defending regional stability in the Indo-Pacific not only through our combined expertise and experience but through the differing capabilities of U.S. Navy big deck platforms,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Karrey Sanders, commodore of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 1.
The Essex Amphibious Ready Group consists of PHIBRON 1 and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). PHIBRON 1 ships operating alongside VINCSG in the South China Sea includes landing helicopter dock USS Essex (LHD 2) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52).
Participating VINCSG units included aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), and three Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 1: USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), USS O’Kane (DDG 77), and USS Chafee (DDG 90). Additionally, nine squadrons of CVW-2 deployed aboard Vinson last August.
VINCSG and ESX ARG are deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Prior to rendezvousing with VINCSG, ESX ARG recently operated in the Gulf of Aden.
Image credit: MC2 Haydn N. Smith. From left, Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oiler USNS John Ericsson (T-AO 194), Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS O’Kane (DDG 77), Wasp-class landing helicopter dock USS Essex (LHD 2), Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), and Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship USNS Alan Shephard (T-AKE 3) transit the South China Sea, Jan. 13, 2022. Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group (VINCSG) and Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ESX ARG) are conducting joint expeditionary strike force operations in the South China Sea as part of continuing and routine interoperability training operations in the Indo-Pacific region.