INDIAN OCEAN --
15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, embarked on the Makin Island Amphibious Group, concluded operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, March 18.
U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II joint strike fighters with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164, 15th MEU, conducted a total of nine OIR missions as part of broader counterterrorism operations in the Central Command area of responsibility.
"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.” Lt. Col. Christopher Kelly, VMM-164 executive officer
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.
“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 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.”
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.
A Patient Passenger
Photo by Cpl. Patrick Crosley
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Ewoo Jung, an MV-22 Osprey crew chief assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, awaits takeoff during a U.S. Air Forces Central Agile Combat Employment event at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, March 4, 2021. AFCENT’s ACE capstone event enhances theater airpower competencies, validating operational capabilities and command and control while simultaneously strengthening regional partnerships. The 15th MEU is 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.
The Makin Island ARG and embarked 15th MEU have been deployed since January in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, 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.