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NEWS | April 12, 2023

Task Force 76/3 Hosts Commanders Conference

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chase Stephens

SASEBO, Japan -- Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7 hosted a commanders conference April 6-7 at ESG 7 Det Sasebo headquarters to synchronize U.S. Seventh Fleet unit and warfare commanders with current and evolving situations and concepts in the Indo-Pacific region.

The conference brought together ESG 7 unit commanders to discuss warfighting concepts, best practices of expeditionary strike group operations and current challenges for maintenance and operations.

“It is absolutely crucial for all unit commanders to be on the same page when it comes to the challenges and obstacles we face when conducting expeditionary operations in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Rear Adm. Derek Trinque, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 7. “This conference served as a catalyst for an in-person discussion about strategies and concerns that unit commanders may have.”

Service members from III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) and supporting commands, staff from Task Forces 71, 75 and 76, Amphibious Squadron 11, Mine Counter Measures Squadron 7, Destroyer Squadron 7, Fleet Surgical Team 7, and Naval Beach Unit 7 were invited to attend this iteration to collaborate and share ideas.

“The value that conferences like this provide for the Navy-Marine Corps team is immeasurable, especially as we merged into Task Force 76/3,” said Lt. Col. Steve Bancroft, future operations and plans officer for TF 76/3. “This conference allowed us to come together and share insight from both the Navy and Marine Corps sides of the aisle and see how we can continue to improve naval integration and learn each other’s languages.”

The conference presented concepts supporting the theater littoral warfare construct. Navy and Marine Corps attendees engaged in discussions on several topics and encouraged open dialogue how both forces can best integrate with joint forces and a globally unified network of Allies and partners in the ever evolving security environment of the region.

“The Navy’s amphibious force works with the Marines often; in planning and operations,” said Capt. Kelly Fletcher, the commodore of Amphibious Squadron 11. “Open and honest dialogue is what enables us to operate and leverage our power as an integrated fleet effectively. Although I’m the only PHIBRON commander here, the challenges other commanders are facing aren’t so different from my own.”

As the sole expeditionary strike group forward deployed in U.S. 7th Fleet, ESG 7 is responsible for conducting expeditionary warfare operations to support a full range of theater contingencies, from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations to full combat operations. ESG 7 units are the key enabler for the Marines' expeditionary operations ashore that can quickly and decisively neutralize any adversary.

“The challenges, obstacles and opportunities we face in the Indo-Pacific region change frequently and we must be able to plan and adjust accordingly,” said Trinque. “As we continue to integrate with our Marine Corps counterparts, aligning concepts, capabilities and operations is one of our highest priorities. I can say with complete confidence that this conference has brought us closer to that goal.”

ESG 7 is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility to enhance interoperability with allies and partners, and serve as a ready response force to defend peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

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