Elements of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), including the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) and embarked elements of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), pulled into Duqm, Oman for a scheduled port visit in support of logistics and maintenance, March 23-29. While this was a working port visit, Sailors and Marines had a number of opportunities to rest and unwind in each ship’s separate and designated liberty areas on the pier.These activities were planned and carried out in full compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Defense (DOD) and host nation COVID-19 mitigation measures. The port call marked the first time a large deck amphibious ship visited Duqm this year.
Makin Island ARG and 15th MEU leadership also greeted U.S. Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman Leslie Tsou on the pier, and provided a socially distanced overview brief of the units’ capabilities. Makin Island and Somerset have been deployed since January in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO), along with amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) and additional elements of the 15th MEU. The Makin Island ARG and embarked 15th MEU have been operating in the Arabian Gulf since Jan. 22, supporting security and stability in cooperation with regional and coalition partners. The 5th Fleet AOO encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Sea of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three chokepoints, critical to the free flow of global commerce.
USS Makin Island (LHD-8), a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, is the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for Makin Island, target of the Marine Raiders’ Makin Island raid early on in the United States’ involvement in World War II. Makin Island’s task is to embark, deploy, and land elements of a Marine landing force in an amphibious assault by helicopters, landing craft, and amphibious vehicles. The secondary or convertible mission for Makin Island is that of sea control and power projection. USS Somerset (LPD-25) is a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock of the United States Navy. Somerset is the fourth Navy vessel, and the second warship to bear the name; the first two being a wooden-hulled motorboat and a ferry. The first warship, an armed cargo ship from World War II, was named for the Somerset Counties of Maine, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania collectively.