The lengthy deployment by more than 4,000 sailors and Marines of the San Diego-based Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group is winding down.
Their ships’ port call in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, began Monday and is scheduled to be the last before their return home, Navy officials said.
The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock and amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset departed Naval Base San Diego last Oct. 14. Since then, they’ve traveled through the Pacific and Indian oceans, Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Gulf, transporting members of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The Navy said the Makin Island itself has steamed more than 45,000 miles.
“All three ships in the ARG were exactly where our commanders needed them to be, when they needed them to be there,” said Capt. Mike Crary, commander of Amphibious Squadron 5. “It’s a testament to this team’s readiness, and I couldn’t have asked for a more motivated and professional group of sailors and Marines.”
In Hawaii, several Makin Island sailors are scheduled to reenlist in a ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial.
“Reenlisting at the Arizona Memorial is an honor,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Andrea Hahn, from Aurora, Colorado. “To rededicate myself to the Navy at a place with so much historical significance to our nation is an opportunity I might never have again.”
Also, 200 family and friends will board the ship for the ride home in a so-called “Tiger Cruise,” which provides a glimpse of sailor life aboard ship, according to the Navy.
An arrival date in San Diego has not been announced.
The Makin Island is named for a Pacific atoll where a World War II battle took place. The Comstock is named for a mining site near Virginia City, Nevada. The Somerset, on its maiden deployment, is named for the Pennsylvania county where a United Airlines jet crashed on Sept. 11, 2001.
–City News Service
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