15th MEU F-35Bs depart USS Makin Island in support of Agile Combat Employment
15th MEU F-35Bs depart USS Makin Island in support of Agile Combat Employment

US Marine Corps 15th MEU Concludes Support to Operation Inherent Resolve

15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), embarked on the Makin Island Amphibious Group (ARG), concluded operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), March 18. During the missions, the fighter aircraft departed from the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and conducted long-range strikes and counter-air missions in Iraq and Syria. U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II joint strike fighters with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164 (Reinforced), 15th MEU, conducted a total of nine OIR missions as part of broader counterterrorism operations in the Central Command area of responsibility.

15th MEU F-35Bs support Agile Combat Employment at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar
U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning IIs attached to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164 (Reinforced), 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), participate in a U.S. Air Forces Central (AFCENT) Agile Combat Employment (ACE) event at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, March 2. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Patrick Crosley)

“Executing missions in and outside the Arabian Gulf shows just how versatile and lethal the F-35B platform really is,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Kelly, VMM-164 (REIN) executive officer. “Embarked aboard the Makin Island ARG, our support to the OIR mission shows the depth and responsiveness of the MEU as a maritime force; one that can be called upon when needed.”

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15th MEU F-35Bs depart USS Makin Island in support of Agile Combat Employment
The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and the 15th MEU are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Patrick Crosley)

ARGs with embarked MEUs provide combatant commanders with a responsive, flexible and forward-deployed asset capable of maritime power projection, contingency operations and crisis response, shaping the operational environment to protect the United States and allied interests in any threat environment. The Makin Island ARG and embarked 15th MEU have been deployed since January in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO), supporting security and stability in cooperation with regional and coalition partners.

15th MEU Marines conduct F-35B flight operations at Al Udeid Air Base in support of Agile Combat Employment
U.S. Marines assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164 (Reinforced), 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), prepare an AIM-9 Sidewinder missile mounted on a Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II during a U.S. Air Forces Central (AFCENT) Agile Combat Employment (ACE) event at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, March 3. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Patrick Crosley)

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.

15th MEU F-35Bs depart USS Makin Island in support of Agile Combat Employment
A U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164 (Reinforced), 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), takes off from the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) during a U.S. Air Forces Central (AFCENT) Agile Combat Employment (ACE) event, March 1. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Patrick Crosley)
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