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Navy, Marines enter Middle East-based U.S. 5th Fleet for training

By
Jake Thomas
Amphibious assault ship USS Essex, right, amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor, left, and amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland, transit the Arabian Sea on Monday. Photo by Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brett McMinoway
Amphibious assault ship USS Essex, right, amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor, left, and amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland, transit the Arabian Sea on Monday. Photo by Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brett McMinoway

Sept. 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy's Essex Amphibious Ready Group and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit entered the Arabian Sea to begin training exercises, the Navy said on Tuesday.

The Navy said in a press release that the drills will be conducted alongside regional and coalition partners in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, a vast area of 2.5 million square miles of water that includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean.

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The Essex Amphibious Ready Group, which includes flagship USS Essex, the USS Portland and the USS Pearl Harbor, arrived in the area on Sunday.

In May, Essex Amphibious Ready Group and the 11th Marines Expeditionary Unit conducted a multi-week "training evolution" in California that included over 5,000 personnel.

The Essex Amphibious Ready Group left San Diego on Aug. 12 along with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, reports USNI News.

The Essex Amphibious Ready Group, based in California, took a direct route across the Pacific and the Indian Ocean after participating in Large Scale Exercise 2021.

Carriers may remain in the region after the Pentagon pledged an "over the horizon" capability for counterterrorism strikes following the withdrawal of military forces in Afghanistan.

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The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, for example, has been in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations since late June to support the military withdrawal from Afghanistan, according to USNI.

The USS Ronald Reagan is based in Japan and typically patrols the western Pacific Ocean.

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