The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group is scheduled to depart Naval Base San Diego to the Pacific, Middle East and the Horn of Africa on Friday, the Navy announced Wednesday.
Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (MKIARG) is comprised of the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset and amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock.
More than 1,100 Sailors and 1,500 Marines will deploy aboard Makin Island; 375 Sailors and 700 Marines will deploy aboard Somerset; and 410 Sailors and 400 Marines will deploy aboard Comstock. During deployment they will operate with the embarked forces of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Amphibious Squadron Five, the “Blackjacks” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21 and detachments from Assault Craft Unit 5.
While deployed, the team will provide maritime security operations, crisis response capability, theater security cooperation and forward naval presence, according to the U.S. Navy.
With ships, aircraft, troops, and logistical equipment, the U.S. Navy states “the MKIARG/MEU is a self-contained and self-sustained task force capable of conducting everything from combat operations to providing humanitarian assistance.”
U.S. Navy Capt. Michael Crary, Commander, Amphibious Squadron Five, and Marine Col. Clay Tipton will lead the MKIARG/MEU team on the mission.
The announcement came on the same day that Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook released a statement regarding U.S. strikes on three radar sites in Houthi-controlled territory on Yemen’s Red Sea Coast:
“The strikes — authorized by President Obama at the recommendation of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph Dunford — targeted radar sites involved in the recent missile launches threatening USS Mason and other vessels operating in international waters in the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandeb. These limited self-defense strikes were conducted to protect our personnel, our ships, and our freedom of navigation in this important maritime passageway. The United States will respond to any further threat to our ships and commercial traffic, as appropriate, and will continue to maintain our freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, the Bab al-Mandeb, and elsewhere around the world.”
According to Cook’s statement, initial assessments show the strikes destroyed the sites.
Updated at 8:59 p.m. Oct. 12, 2016 to include statement from Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook.
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