USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) and embarked Marines of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) departed Aqaba, Jordan, after completing a mid-deployment voyage repair (MDVR) maintenance availability, July 13.
MDVRs are scheduled availabilities to complete repairs and maintenance, allowing a ship to continue to be fully mission capable throughout the remainder of its deployment.
“The MDVR gave us the opportunity to take seven days to focus on getting maintenance done and make sure that we remain ready to respond as required,” said Capt. Joseph R. O’Brien, Iwo Jima’s commanding officer. “It also gives us the opportunity to prepare the ship to come back home by doing an agricultural wash-down of all the vehicles and all the equipment that was brought on board.”
Contractors came aboard the ship from locations such as Forward Deployed Regional Maintenance Center Bahrain and Southeast Regional Maintenance Center Mayport, Florida, to assist the crew with repairs.
Marines and Sailors spent the week washing down vehicles, equipment and containers in wash racks aboard the Royal Jordanian Naval Base for agricultural inspections. They washed approximately 300 major end-items and cleaned, inventoried and inspected thousands of additional items.
Some of the other tasks conducted by Sailors and Marines during the MDVR included repairs to vital radars and the ship’s mast, engineering plant upkeep and ship preservation.
Before pulling in to Aqaba, the crew knew the great amount of work that was in store for them and prepared to get it done safely and efficiently.
“Preparation for the MDVR was an all-hands effort,” said Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Andrew Frasca, a member of Iwo Jima’s Deck Department. “From undesignated seaman all the way to the commanding officer, we were well prepared to complete the tasks at hand with zero mishaps.”
Marines assigned to the 26th MEU also took part in sustainment training during the port visit, with elements of Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment (BLT 2/6) and Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 26 conducting live-fire ranges at Camp Titin.
“The BLT completed a live fire portion of their team leader course, which trains the young Marines who will be team leaders for the next deployment. This range allowed them to sustain proficiency in all weapon systems in the rifle squad,” said Maj. Brian Hinrichs, commander of Echo Company, BLT 2/6. “Also, the Combat Engineer Battalion detachment and CLB maintained breaching skills with a demolition range. Overall, the training allowed the MEU to sustain critical skills and increased the morale of the Marines.”
Additionally, the Maritime Raid Force conducted combat dive, military freefall, close quarters tactics, and team tactics training at Camp Titin and King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center. While the port call was a working port focused on maintenance and training, Sailors and Marines had the opportunity to participate in tours to Petra and Wadi Rum, which included an off-road scenic tour and a hike up Burda Mountain.
Iwo Jima is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.
The Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group embarks the 26th MEU and is comprised of Iwo Jima, the transport dock ship USS New York (LPD-21), the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 4 and 8, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 22, components of Naval Beach Group (NBG) 2 and the embarked staff of commander, Amphibious Squadron 4.