By Lt. Lily Hinz, Commander, Amphibious Squadron 8 Public Affairs
MEDITERRANEAN SEA (NNS) -- The Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (IWOARG), with embarked 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), departed U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO), June 21.
The ARG entered U.S. 6th Fleet AOO upon completion of a Suez Canal transit and the 4,000 U.S. Sailors and Marines assigned to the ARG and 24th MEU will serve in the U.S. 6th Fleet AOO before completing their scheduled seven-month deployment.
While on station in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOO, the ARG and 24th MEU supported theater security cooperation and provided a forward naval presence by providing crisis response, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and combat capabilities.
The ARG played a crucial role in Yemen evacuation and contingency operations, participated in multiple bilateral and multi-lateral training exercises and conducted strategic transits of the Strait of Bab-Al-Mandeb.
"The Sailors and Marines of the IWOARG and the 24th MEU have done an outstanding job during this deployment to 5th Fleet," said Navy Capt. Michael McMillan, commodore, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 8. "This ARG/MEU team has been ready to plan and execute any and all tasking since our arrival here, and the hard work of each Sailor and Marine contributed to an extremely successful deployment."
The IWOARG is commanded by McMillan, which include the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) and the embarked Marines of the 24th MEU, as well as various supporting elements from Assault Craft Unit 4, Beachmaster Unit 2, Fleet Surgical Team 8, Tactical Air Control Squadron 22 and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28.
The 24th MEU is commanded by Col. Scott F. Benedict and is comprised of the Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365 (Reinforced); the Ground Combat Element, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines; the Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 24 and its command element.
The ARG ships left their homeport in Mayport, Florida, Dec. 11, and Dec. 12, 2014 on a regularly scheduled deployment and will continue to support operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet AOO.