PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii -- Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. David H. Berger, and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. Troy E. Black, visited the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) aboard Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) during a scheduled port visit in Pearl Harbor, HI, Feb. 19.
While aboard Essex, Gen. Berger met with 11th MEU commanding officer, Col. James W. Lively and spoke at an all-hands call on the flight deck to speak to the Marines.
“It’s a great feeling to know that when I’m sitting in a meeting with the Joint Chiefs and we’re considering options on how to respond to a bad situation, I can tell them that the 11th MEU is not just available, but that you are ready,” Gen. Berger said in front of the formation of over 1,000 Marines. “When other units might not be there for three days, I can say that the 11th MEU can be there in 24 hours.”
The Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 11th MEU deployed in August 2021 and conducted operations in the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command areas of responsibility. Throughout the deployment, the ARG/MEU spent the majority of its time operating in two or more separate areas simultaneously, leveraging the flexibility that comes with three amphibious ships to provide a forward presence in one location, while conducting bilateral training with key partners and allies in another.
“It’s a great opportunity for the Marines to have the chance hear their Commandant recognize their actions during deployment and emphasize our purpose as an ARG/MEU team,” said Col. Lively after the event. “Embarking Marines on amphibious vessels and maximizing the flexibility and lethality that both organizations bring to the fight is the epitome of Navy-Marine Corps integration to support maritime deterrence, campaigning, and crisis response.”
The 11th MEU consists of the Command Element; the Aviation Combat Element comprised of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 165 (Reinforced) and Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 214; the Ground Combat Element comprised of Battalion Landing Team 1/1; and the Logistics Combat Element comprised of Combat Logistics Battalion 11.
The 11th MEU is currently embarked on the Essex ARG, comprised of amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), amphibious transport dock USS Portland (LPD 27), and amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52).
“The 11th MEU is the most ready unit in the Marine Corps today. You’re deployed, you’re ready, and you’re capable of answering America’s call, if needed. Thank you and semper fidelis, Marines,” Sgt. Maj. Black said in his closing comments.
The 11th MEU and Essex ARG remain forward deployed as a flexible, integrated Navy and Marine Corps team capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response, and limited contingency operations to maintain a forward presence while upholding U.S. commitment to partners and allies in support of the theater requirements of geographic combatant commanders.