U.S. Navy Naval Base San Diego
Loved ones await the arrival of amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island Sunday at Naval Base San Diego. Photo credit: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Natalie M. Byers

Ships in the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group returned to Naval Base San Diego Sunday concluding a seven-month deployment, the Navy said.

Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), embarked aboard the ships of the ready group, arrived off the coast on Friday to disembark at Camp Pendleton.

“These ships were deployed during an unprecedented pandemic and demonstrated the ability of the Navy and Marine Corps team to fight through to do the mission,” said Rear Adm. Philip Sobeck, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3. “I am so incredibly proud of each and every one of them and their families for their service and their sacrifice.”

The Makin Island group is comprised of the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), and amphibious transport dock ships USS San Diego (LPD 22) and USS Somerset (LPD 25).

The 15th MEU consists of the Command Element; the Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 164 (Reinforced); the Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team 1/4; and the Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 15.

The deployment of more than 5,000 service members began Nov. 10, after they completed a sequester and back-to-back at-sea exercises in October.

Sailors and Marines conducted more than 10,000 hours of flight operations and 6,800 launch and recoveries, while traveling more than 135,000 nautical miles of open ocean and restricted water transits in the 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th Fleet areas of operation.

They served as a crisis-response force for combatant commanders in the Africa, Central and Indo-Pacific Commands.