May 2 (UPI) -- Three U.S. Navy ships with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, with 4,500 service members, departed San Diego Wednesday on regular deployment.
The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS John Murtha, the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer and the Harpers Ferry-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry made up the group taking to the Pacific Ocean.
"It has been incredible to see the interoperability of the Boxer ARG/11th MEU as they have come together to form a cohesive team, operating from all ships within the ARG," said Capt. Brad Arthur, commander of Amphibious Squadron 5, said in a press release.
"Having completed the arduous unit-level and integrated certification cycles I am confident that we are trained and ready to accomplish critical mission areas needed to operate across the globe," Arthur added.
The force will conduct maritime security operations, crisis response operations, theater security cooperation and forward naval presence operations, according to 3rd Fleet officials. The force does not have the newest F-35B squadron but does have a squadron of AV-8B Harrier jump jets. The F-35s will eventually replace the Harrier.
"Our blue-green team is ready to deploy," said Col. Fridrik Fridriksson, the 11th MEU commander. "We have trained, on land, in the air and at sea, to respond to events across the range of military operations and we will be prepared if and when we are called to respond."