Makin Island Ready Group
The ships of the Makin Island Ready Group exercise off Indonesia in December. Navy photo

The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit returned to San Diego this week after a seven-month deployment in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island and amphibious transport docks USS Anchorage and USS John P. Murtha along with 4,500 sailors and Marines traveled more than 47,000 nautical miles during the deployment.

“Our goal was to achieve interoperability with our allies and partners and promote a free and open Indo-Pacific. We accomplished that mission and brought every single sailor and Marine home safely,” said Capt. Andria Slough, commanding officer of Makin Island.

“While the world witnessed our ARG-MEU team strengthening partnerships, I had a front-row seat to the tremendous amount of skill, dedication and hard work,” she said. “It’s awe-inspiring to watch sailors and Marines at their very best!” 

The Makin Island group exercised with allied naval units from Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste during the deployment.

Col. Samuel Meyer, commanding officer of the 13th MEU, said the exercises strengthened critical relationships in the region.

“Through our Navy and Marine Corps integration, we worked with our partners and allies, creating personal bonds that will last a lifetime,” he said.

The ready group wrapped up the deployment by participating in exercise Balikatan 2023 with the armed forces of the Philippines in April. The 17,600 participants made it the largest iteration of the exercise to date.  

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