SYDNEY, Australia -- The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) and the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Sydney for a scheduled port visit June 18.
Along with the Wasp, USS Green Bay (LPD 20) and USS Ashland (LSD 48), two other ships in the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), are also in Australia prior to Talisman Sabre 2019. The Green Bay and Ashland are currently visiting Brisbane, Australia.
"This visit gives the Wasp ARG a fantastic opportunity to explore Australia, while also learning about one of our country's strongest partners, who share our values and commitment to peace and security," said Capt. Jim McGovern, commander, Amphibious Squadron Eleven. "In both Sydney and Brisbane, our Sailors and Marine will be able to have a short respite from our forward-deployed and busy operational schedule to enjoy these beautiful cities."
The Wasp ARG and 31st MEU team is a flexible, self-sustained crisis response force, capable of conducting operations from combat missions, to humanitarian aid and disaster relief. They are the premier crisis response force in the Indo-Pacific region.
"It is an absolute privilege for the Marines and Sailors of the 31st MEU to receive such a warm and hospitable welcome to Australia and the beautiful city of Sydney," said Col. Robert Brodie, 31st MEU commanding officer. "We genuinely look forward to meeting new friends, building positive relationships and enjoying our shared vision of peace and prosperity with our Australian allies.”
During the port visit, Sailors and Marines will participate in various community service events, intramural sports competitions, including volleyball and soccer, tours of the area, and the ship will host a distinguished visitor reception.
"Australia is one of the benchmark countries for U.S. Sailors and Marines to visit during their careers, and both the crew of Wasp and the 31st MEU are excited and well-deserving of the opportunity to experience this beautiful country," said Capt. Christopher Herr, Wasp commanding officer. "Our two nations value stability and peace, both at home and globally, and having the opportunity to be ambassadors in this respect is a great honor. Given our historic alliance and friendship with Australia, this visit will give our Sailors and Marines an even greater appreciation for their legacy of service with honor, which generations of Australian and American service members can relate to, and continue to build upon."
Wasp is the flagship of the Wasp ARG and, with the embarked 31st MEU, is currently deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Operations.