USS KEARSARGE AT SEA -- USS KEARSARGE AT SEA – The landing platform dock HMS Albion (L14) hosted 18 Sailors and Marines from the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 4, and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) for a tour of their ship July 11.
Albion is one of seven Royal Navy vessels out to sea with the Kearsarge Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG) during their pre-deployment Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPTUEX).
“Deploying from the UK back in April, the Carrier Strike Task Group is currently on a mission that we call ‘Auriga’,” said Cmdr. Jeff Wintle, the media officer on board Albion. “Our deployment focuses on a series of exercises hosted by the U.S. and Canadian militaries with the principal aim of enhancing the Task Group’s Operational Capability with our coalition partners.”
On June 10, nine servicemembers from Albion came aboard Kearsarge in an MV-22 Osprey to visit different departments on the ship and to see how we operate. The following day Albion returned the favor for 18 people from Kearsarge, PHIBRON 4, and the MEU.
“We had a wide variety of people from different departments of the ship being shown around,” said Kearsarge’s Metrological Officer Lt. Cristal Armijo. “The officers who showed us around took individuals from certain departments and showed us their equivalent departments on their ship.”
Armijo got a tour of Albion’s Hydrographic Meteorological space, and said she noticed a lot of differences between ships while walking through the ship and into the spaces.
“Although their ship is much smaller than ours their p-ways were much wider,” said Armijo of the landing platform dock. “The space where their meteorologist officer works was smaller than ours, however, we still use all of the same tools and they still have the same weather concerns as we do. It’s all the same mission.”
The 26th MEU sent over two Marine officers to Albion for a few days during exercises to act as liaisons between the ships. Marine 1st Lt. Nathan Miller, 26th MEU’s Air Traffic Control Mobile Team’s Officer in Charge, spent four days on Albion to help manage airspace.
“This has been an awesome learning experience,” said Miller. “They are doing a lot of the same exercises we’re doing on Kearsarge, they are about to start Supporting Arms Coordination Center Exercise (SACCEX), which the 26th MEU just completed. This whole experience is beneficial for everyone because we get to work with allies who are doing the same things in their own ways, and learn from each other.”
The Royal Navy Commander, United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group, Commodore Simon Ancona, said that the East Coast is tailor-made to support their group’s training missions.
“The exercise areas, assets and ranges form a sort of U.S. carrier ‘gymnasium’ for combat certification of strike and amphibious capabilities,” said Ancona. “This is all about interoperability, flexibility and sustainability, or to put it simply, work with allies to do whatever is needed for as long as it takes.”
After the completion of COMPTUEX, the Royal Navy ships will continue with Auriga, moving forward to different training environments along the coast of North and South America.
Kearsarge ARG will continue COMPTUEX for the next few weeks in preparation for their regularly scheduled deployment this fall.