The USS Makin Island leads the USS Comstock (left) and USS Somerset in the Pacific. Navy photo

San Diego-based ships in the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group arrived on station in the Middle East Wednesday, according to the Navy.

The group — which consists of the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock, amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset and members of the Camp Pendleton-based 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit — left San Diego on Oct. 14.

The ships will support maritime and theater security operations, the Navy said.

While underway, the sailors and Marines took part in training exercises with allied navies.

“These Marines and sailors clearly understand the importance of working with our partners and allies to learn from one another, enhance capabilities, and strengthen relationships,” said Col. Clay Tipton, commanding officer of 11th MEU.

When faced with unforeseen events, the team came together to overcome the challenges of real-world situations and I couldn’t be prouder of their performance,” Tipton said. “Once again, the Navy-Marine Corps team proved its unique ability to put Marines ashore, accomplish the mission, and return to ARG shipping without the use of a secured base, seaport, or airfield.”

Also embarked on the ships are the “Blackjacks” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21, Fleet Surgical Team 5, Tactical Air Control Squadron 11 and Assault Craft Unit 5.

The Makin Island is named for a Pacific atoll that was the scene of a World War II battle, and the Comstock is named for a mining site near Virginia City, Nevada. The Somerset, on its maiden deployment, is named for the county in Pennsylvania where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed on Sept. 11, 2001.

—City News Service

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