SASEBO, Japan -
Ships of the forward-deployed Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG)
departed Sasebo, Japan Sept. 21 to begin a patrol of the Western
During the patrol, the Essex ARG will embark and work with elements
of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in completing an
amphibious integration training and certification exercise (CERTEX)
off the coast of Okinawa.
“This certification exercise allows Sailors from the amphibious
ready group to train with their Marine counterparts, solidifying the
importance of our blue-green team,” said Capt. Bradley Lee,
commodore, Amphibious Squadron 11.
These types of exercises help maintain the ARG’s readiness to
effectively respond to unforeseen events in the region and keeps the
skills of the Sailors and Marines sharp should their service be
“Since it’s my first underway with this ship, it’s a bit exciting to
be leaving for this fall deployment,” said Operations Specialist 1st
Class Jennifer Watkins, Amphibious Squadron 11 operations department
leading petty officer.
The Essex ARG consists of the forward-deployed amphibious assault
ship USS Essex (LHD 2), the amphibious dock landing ship USS
Germantown (LSD 42) and the amphibious transport dock ship USS
Denver (LPD 9).
Ships of the Essex ARG returned in April from assisting citizens of
Japan after the nation was struck by an 9.0 earthquake and a
tsunami. During the disaster relief operation, Operation Tomodachi,
Sailors and Marines moved 80 tons of relief supplies ashore in one
day and assisted in clearing debris from Oshima Island.
More recently, the Essex ARG returned in August from participation
in Exercise Talisman Sabre, a bilateral exercise with Australian and
U.S. forces. Talisman Sabre is a biennial, joint sponsored exercise
by the U.S. Pacific Command and Australian Defence Force (ADF) Joint
The Essex Amphibious Ready Group reports to Commander, Amphibious
Force Seventh Fleet, Rear Adm. J. Scott Jones, who is headquartered
in Okinawa, Japan.