After being last deployed in 2004, the 27-year-old fighter is back. It got underway on Saturday morning along with a team of 4,000 Amphibious Ready Group. This group includes the dock landing ship Whidbey Island and amphibious transport dock San Antonio. Note that the trio will be carrying the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. It is a six month pump to 5th Fleet. ARG commanders are expecting to tangle with the ISIS during this course.
Even though it is one of the oldest ships in the fleet, it still carries some of the newest sailors and systems. It is also palpable ready.
According to Captain Bryon Ogden, who is currently the commander of the ARG along with the Amphibious Squadron (Phibron) 6, ?This team is ready. We’ve been put through the paces, we’ve gone through a very extensive training cycle, and have hit the mark time and time again. I have the utmost faith and confidence in every one of those sailors and Marines on all three of these mighty warships that we will do our nation’s bidding.?
In addition, he also assured of his team?s flexibility and that their skills will be put to the test in numerous missions and on various locations. According to him, disaggregated missions are good for tuning up. He is currently expecting to create various leaderships team to the ships to provide ?the right level and scalable force necessary to accomplish the desire task.?
Note that the MEU has placed a lot of emphasis on building a strong relationship with special operations forces. They also enabled a real-world MARSOC mission with MEU commander Col. Todd Simmons. According to him, the Marines are quite trained for any disaggregated operation that may come in the way. It should be noted here that the commander has been working on landing team concept and has even tested the integration of artillery in direct support. One of the major examples of this is Task Force Spartan, which is approximately 170 Marines in Iraq once the MEU?s 26th Departure took place in April. They didn?t return to Camp Lejeune till June 3. The team that stayed back looked after the guns of a firebase close to Makhmour in northern Iraq until relief was provided by the US Army artillery.
According to Capt. Andy Smith, who was working on the Wasp two months ago, ?This crew has worked very, very hard over the last year and a half to get this ship ready to go back into the fight. They are very excited to go do the nation’s business, and do what they joined the Navy to do ? see the world.?
A lot of crew members are actually on their first deployment. They were not present when the Navy Wasp was last deployed. However, a major focus of the training has been the change of mindset from the tactics of combat direction systems back in the 80s.