U.S. Navy, Marine conduct exercise in South China Sea

Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (NIMCSG) and Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (MKI ARG) with embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU) are conducting integrated expeditionary strike force (ESF) operations in the South China Sea Feb. 11.

The mobility and sustainability provided by amphibious platforms gives the Navy and Marine Corps team an asymmetric advantage in a maritime environment. The Nimitz ESF’s ability to operate seamlessly and simultaneously on the sea, ashore, and in the air, represents the unique value of amphibious capability provided by the Makin Island ARG and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

“The Nimitz Expeditionary Strike Force operations reinforce our integrated joint force capabilities,” said Rear Adm. Christopher Sweeney, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11. “Combining the capabilities of CSG 11 with ARG/MEU, we expand the options this blue-green team provides the joint force commander, and increase our ability to create theater-wide effects in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

The 13th MEU, combined with the amphibious capabilities of the ARG, enables the NIMCSG to employ the versatile capabilities of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force. This seamless naval integration established a powerful presence in the region, which supports peace and stability.

“Makin Island’s ability to integrate with Carrier Strike Group 11 amplifies the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps’ dedication to our Allies and partners in the region by providing that persistent presence,” said Capt. Tony Chavez, commanding officer of Makin Island. 

“As a ready response force, we underpin a broad spectrum of missions including landing Marines ashore, humanitarian disaster relief, and deterring potential adversaries through visible and present combat power.”

“The 13th MEU brings the full capabilities of an afloat Marine Air-Ground Task Force,” said Col. Samuel Meyer, commanding officer, 13th MEU. “Synchronizing all warfighting functions from amphibious ships enables the mobility, sustainability and flexibility to respond to emergent threats and crises anywhere required.”

Additionally, Task Force 76/3 is supporting ESF as part of the Noble Fusion campaign of learning and experimentation for Seventh Fleet, III Marine Expeditionary Force, and the greater Navy and Marine Corps team. Task Force 76/3 is an experimental organization formed from the merging of Task Force 76 and 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, to support naval integration and staff operations. 

The Navy-Marine Corps team integrated within the Task Force 76/3 operational construct provides a stronger, more flexible military organization ready to conduct the full range of amphibious operations.

Participating NIMCSG units include aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68); Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Decatur (DDG 73), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9; and the squadrons of embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17.

The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group includes units from Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 7 and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). PHIBRON 7 includes amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), along with amphibious transport docks USS Anchorage (LPD 23). The 13th MEU includes Battalion Landing Team 2nd Marines, 4th Battalion, Combat Logistics Battalion 13, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 362 (Reinforced), and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122. 

The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is currently underway in 7th Fleet conducting routine operations. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy‘s largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with Allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

Photo credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin McTaggart. An MV-22 Osprey from the “Ugly Angels” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 362 approaches to land aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). 

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