MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit based out of Camp Pendleton, California, assembled as a complete Marine Air-Ground Task Force January 6, to begin pre-deployment training with the U.S. Navy's America Amphibious Ready Group for the upcoming Western Pacific 17-2 deployment.
Joining the 15th MEU Command Element is 1st Battalion, 5th Marines serving as the Ground Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 (Reinforced) serving as the Aviation Combat Element, and Combat Logistics Battalion 15 serving as the Logistics Combat Element.
"This Navy-Marine Corps team is comprised of some of the most historic units in Navy and Marine Corps history," said Col. Joseph Clearfield, 15th MEU commanding officer. "We will honor this lineage by deploying as a strong, flexible, consistent, and responsive crisis response force."
The 15th MEU's training cycle will begin with Marine Corps-specific training and progress to full Navy/Marine Corps joint evolutions throughout the six month pre-deployment period, culminating with a Certification Exercise to test the readiness of the America Amphibious Ready Group and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The three ships that will compose the America Amphibious Ready Group are the USS America (LHA-6), USS San Diego (LPD-22) and USS Pearl Harbor (LSD- 52). The flagship, USS America, adds a unique aspect to the 15th MEU in that it is the first of its kind to be built with additional air support capabilities, designed specifically to support airborne amphibious assaults.
Commissioned in 2014, USS America will begin her maiden deployment with the 15th MEU and staff of the Commander, Amphibious Squadron 3 embarked.
For its last deployment, while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve; the 15th MEU's aviation combat element flew 76 sorties and 500 combat flight hours that resulted in 36 strikes against Da'esh positions, equipment, and personnel. In June, the USS Rushmore and embarked Marines rescued a group of Indonesian sailors from a sinking vessel in the Sulawesi Strait.
The 15th MEU provides a forward deployed, flexible force capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response and limited contingency operations in order to support the requirements of geographic combatant commanders.