Kearsarge Group, Marine Unit Arrive for Pakistan Relief

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)

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