The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) sailed from San Diego Bay, May 1st as they begin their deployment. 4,500 Sailors and Marines from Coronado, San Diego and up to Camp Pendleton are embarked on the three ships that make up the ARG, USS Boxer (LHD 4), USS John P Murtha (LPD 26) and USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49). Coronado based Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC-21) sent a detachment of helicopters along with other embarked commands including Assault Craft Unit 5, Naval Beach Group 1, Beachmaster Unit 1, Fleet Surgical Team 5, and Tactical Air Control Squadron 11.
The ARG/MEU team completed an extensive training cycle and is ready to support maritime security operations and crisis response as they provide forward naval presence on deployment.
“It has been incredible to see the interoperability of the Boxer ARG/11th MEU as they have come together to form a cohesive team, operating from all ships within the ARG,” said Capt. Brad Arthur, commander of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5. “Having completed the arduous unit-level and integrated certification cycles I am confident that we are trained and ready to accomplish critical mission areas needed to operate across the globe.”
While smaller than a Carrier Strike Group, the ARG/MEU team offers a flexible, rapid response team ready for contingencies and crises within a region. According to the Navy, the ARG/MEU “ships, aircraft, troops, and logistical equipment make it a self-contained and self-sustained task force capable of conducting missions from combat operations to providing humanitarian assistance.”
USS Boxer (LHD-4) is the flagship for PHIBRON 5. Boxer returned from its last deployment in September 2016 after 7 months in which they transited nearly 150,000 nautical miles, and logged more than 4,200 flight hours. After a maintenance and modernization period and intense training and exercises, Boxer is ready to go. “The crew is ready to execute any mission. I’m proud of the work by our Sailors to build the right mindset needed for success. And now the Boxer team is excited to carry our nation’s flag across the globe,” said local Coronado Resident Capt. Ronald Dowdell, Boxer’s commanding officer.