The Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (IWOARG) and embarked 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), departed Duqm, Oman after a maintenance and logistics stop, June 22. The stop follows IWOARG’s participation in a large scale joint interoperability exercise with Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) and the Ronald Reagan carrier strike group (CSG) in the Gulf of Aden, July 12.
“The U.S. remains committed to the Middle East Region’s security and we look forward to continuing to maintain the free flow of commerce,” said Capt. David Loo, USS Iwo Jima commanding officer. “As an inherently flexible maneuver force, capable of supporting routine and contingency operations, the ARG/MEU demonstrates the U.S. Navy’s continued commitment to the region and partner nations.”
The IWO ARG is in the U.S 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security and consists of the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), and amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17). Embarked detachments include Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) Four, Fleet Surgical Team (FST) Six, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 26, Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 21, Naval Beach Group (NBG) Two, Beach Master Unit (BMU) Two, Assault Craft Units (ACU) Two and Four, and Sailors from Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) Two.
USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship of the United States Navy. The ship was named for the Battle of Iwo Jima of World War II. The ship was commissioned in 2001 and is in service. Fabrication work for Iwo Jima began at Ingalls shipyard on 3 September 1996, and the ship’s keel was laid on 12 December 1997. At the keel laying ceremony, United States Army Captain Jacklyn H. Lucas, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Iwo Jima, placed his Medal of Honor citation in the hull of the ship, where it remains today. She was launched on 4 February 2000.
The 24th MEU provides the U.S. with a forward-deployed, amphibious force capable of executing missions across the full spectrum of operations and consists of four basic elements â€“ a command element, a ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 1/8, a logistics combat element, Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 24 and an aviation combat element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 162 Reinforced. The 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three choke points critical to the free flow of commerce.