ARABIAN GULF (June 16, 2016) — U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers flying from USS
Boxer (LHD 4) in the Arabian Gulf joined strike aircraft operating from
USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in the Mediterranean Sea June 16.
This marks the first naval aviation combat strike missions of Operation
Inherent Resolve launched from Navy warships in two different
The Harriers are assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 166,
the aviation combat element of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit,
embarked in the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group.
"These missions from the flight decks of USS Boxer, like those from the
USS Harry S. Truman, demonstrate the inherent flexibility of naval
forces," said Vice Adm. Kevin Donegan, commander, U.S. Naval Forces
Central Command. "Today, U.S. naval forces are striking ISIL
simultaneously from both the Mediterranean and the Arabian Gulf. Of
course the engine of this effort is our nation's Sailors and Marines
serving with the USS Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and the 13th Marine
Expeditionary Unit; they, together with our joint and coalition
partners, are dismantling and rolling back terrorist networks in Syria,
Iraq and elsewhere."
"We look forward to providing our many capabilities to support Operation
Inherent Resolve," said Capt. Keith Moore, commodore for the Boxer
Amphibious Ready Group. "Our Navy [and] Marine Corps team here on Boxer,
along with the outstanding Sailors aboard Harry S. Truman in the Med,
are ready to support all OIR missions. Together, we will do our part to
disrupt and destroy ISIL."
"Naval forces' support to Operation Inherent Resolve from the
Mediterranean and the Arabian Gulf demonstrates the range of capacity of
the modern Navy and Marine Corps," said Marine Col. Anthony Henderson,
commanding officer of the 13th MEU. "The conduct of air strikes
supporting Iraqi Security Force operations against ISIL reflects the
multiple capabilities the global ARG/MEU team brings to the theater."
Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group began combat sorties from the
eastern Mediterranean Sea June 3, in support of OIR over Syria and Iraq.
The CSG transited the Suez Canal June 2, after conducting operations in
the 5th Fleet area of operations since Dec. 14, 2015. The strike
group's deployment was extended to support dismantling and rolling back
the ISIL terrorist network from the 6th Fleet area of operations before
it will return home to Norfolk.
The Boxer ARG arrived in U.S. 5th Fleet April 5. Consisting of more than
4,500 Sailors and Marines, the Boxer ARG/13th MEU is composed of its
command ship, amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), amphibious
transport dock USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and amphibious dock landing ship
USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49).
In addition to naval aviation missions against ISIL in support of OIR,
the Marines and Sailors of Boxer ARG team are supporting theater
security cooperation efforts and conducting maritime security operations
throughout 5th Fleet.
The U.S. 5th Fleet's area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million
square miles of the Middle East's maritime reaches and includes the
Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and parts
of the Indian Ocean.