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U.S. Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, load ordnance into an F-35B Lightning II aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex in preparation for the F-35B's first combat strike, Sept. 27, 2018.
180927-M-LQ865-1022.JPG Photo By: Lance Cpl. A. J. Van Fredenberg

Sep 28, 2018
U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS, Pacific - U.S. Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, load ordnance into an F-35B Lightning II aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex in preparation for the F-35B's first combat strike, Sept. 27, 2018. The Essex is the flagship for the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 13th 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 the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.


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