Marines assigned to the Avengers of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 load a guided bomb unit 49 onto an F-35B Lightning II on the flight deck of Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex. The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group and the Essex Amphibious Ready Group are conducting integrated operations in the Arabian Sea to ensure stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chandler Harrell/U.S. Navy
Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The nuclear powered John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group and the Essex Amphibious Ready Ground amphibious group engaged in joint training exercises in the Arabian Sea on Dec. 12.
The U.S. Navy's Stennis and Essex groups were also supporting Operation Freedom's Sentinel, meant to support ground operations and help provide the basis of a political solution in Afghanistan.
"Carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups are inherently flexible maneuver forces, and these high-end integrated operations illustrate our commitment to the Central Region and demonstrate our ability to deliver naval combat power at a time and place of our choosing," Vice Admiral Jim Malloy, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and the U.S. 5th Fleet, said in a statement.
The John C. Stennis and the Essex also plan to conduct an in-flight refueling of an F-35 Lightning II from an F/A-18F Super Hornet, alongside other training.
Stennis has the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Mobile Bay and two destroyers, along with it's normal air
The Nimitz-class Stennis is a nuclear powered aircraft carrier designed for surface warfare and has a complement of over 70 aircraft, as well as an escort of several destroyers, cruisers and, usually, submarines.
The Essex is a Wasp-class light carrier designed for amphibious invasion, with aircraft and other tools meant for shorebound strike missions. It can carry Marines, other ground elements, aircraft and amphibious assault vehicles.