An AV-8B Harrier II launches from the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer on Thursday. Navy photo

Marines flying AV-8B Harrier II jets from the San Diego-based amphibious assault ship USS Boxer in the Arabian Sea joined the air campaign against ISIS on Thursday.

The attacks marked the first combat missions of Operation Inherent Resolve launched from Navy warships in two different operational theaters. The Norfolk-based aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman is operating in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Harriers are assigned to Miramar-based Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166, the aviation combat element of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, embarked with the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group.

“Today, U.S. naval forces are striking ISIL simultaneously from both the Mediterranean and the Arabian Gulf,” said Vice Adm. Kevin Donegan, using a common acronym for the Islamic State.

“These missions from the flight deck of USS Boxer, like those from the USS Harry S. Truman, demonstrate the inherent flexibility of naval forces,” added Donegan, who is commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.

The Navy didn’t specify what targets were hit, but the Pentagon separately reported that 27 targets in Syria and Iraq were struck on Thursday by Navy and Air Force jets and remotely-piloted drones.

The Boxer group consists of more than 4,500 sailors and Marines aboard the Boxer, the amphibious transport dock USS New Orleans and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.