MV-22 Osprey flies by USS Nimitz
A Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey flies by the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the South China Sea. Navy photo

The San Diego-based Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group is exercising with the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the disputed South China Sea, the Navy announced this week.

Embarked on the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island and accompanying amphibious vessels are the 5,000 Marines of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit based at Camp Pendleton.

“As a ready response force, we underpin a broad spectrum of missions including landing Marines ashore, humanitarian disaster relief, and deterring potential adversaries through visible and present combat power,” said Capt. Tony Chavez, commanding officer of Makin Island.

He said the exercise with the Nimitz and accompanying destroyers shows America’s “dedication to our Allies and partners in the region by providing that persistent presence.”

The exercise comes just days after a Chinese surveillance balloon was shot down and in an area of the Pacific Ocean where China has staked aggressive territorial claims.

The Makin Island and amphibious transport docks USS Anchorage and John P. Murtha deployed from San Diego in November.

Chris Jennewein

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