WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2010 — Sailors with the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and embarked Marines of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility today to contribute to the flood-relief effort in Pakistan.
Entering 5th Fleet waters marked the completion of the group’s trans-Atlantic crossing, which began Aug. 27 in Norfolk, Va., to support the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.
The Kearsarge group and the Marine Corps unit began their regularly scheduled deployment a month early to support those efforts. In addition to supporting Pakistan relief, they also will serve as the theater reserve force for U.S. Central Command when the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group completes its deployment in early November.
“We are looking forward to doing our part to help the flood victims in Pakistan,” said Navy Capt. Larry Grippin, commander of Amphibious Squadron 4. “Our sailors and Marines have carefully prepared to carry out this relief mission.”
Marine Medium Tilt-rotor Squadron 266 “Fighting Griffins” will use their MV-22 Ospreys to support the relief efforts. This tilt-rotor aircraft combines the vertical flight capabilities of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft.
“We will be providing aerial lift of supplies and personnel to help alleviate the suffering of the Pakistani people,” said Marine Corps Maj. Eric Keith, a “Fighting Griffins” pilot. “As for the deployment and our mission, everybody is pretty excited to get to our destination. Knowing that the mission will make a difference for the people of Pakistan is really uplifting.”
The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit will report directly to Expeditionary Strike Group 5, which is responsible for all amphibious forces deployed to 5th Fleet.
The 5th Fleet’s area of responsibility encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water and includes the Arabian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)