Makin Island ARG Arrives off Alaska for Northern Edge

May 4, 2021 – Marines and Sailors with the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), arrived off the coast of Alaska, May 2, to participate in Exercise Northern Edge 21, the largest joint exercise of 2021, led by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

Northern Edge 21 is designed to provide high-end, realistic war fighter training, develop and improve joint interoperability, and enhance the combat readiness of participating forces while utilizing Alaska’s strategic location, vital to maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Makin Island ARG and 15th MEU will execute air operations from USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and USS San Diego (LPD 22), and air and amphibious operations from USS Somerset (LPD 25) while maneuvering in and from the Temporary Maritime Activities Areas in the Gulf of Alaska and over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex. MEU forces will conduct joint training and land based operations at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Eielson Air Force Base, Fort Greely, Allen Army Airfield and Cold Bay, identified as a cluster base.

A U.S. Marine Corps AH-1Z Viper assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164 (Reinforced), 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit flies over the Gulf of Alaska in support of Northern Edge 2021. U.S. service members are participating in a joint training exercise hosted by U.S. Pacific Air Forces May 3-14, 2021, on and above the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, the Gulf of Alaska, and temporary maritime activities area. NE21 is one in a series of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercises designed to sharpen the joint forces’ skills; to practice tactics, techniques, and procedures; to improve command, control and communication relationships; and to develop cooperative plans and programs. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brendan Mullin)

“We have an amazing opportunity to showcase and enhance the interoperability of this amphibious force with not only a carrier strike group, but with the Army and Air Force as well,” said Capt. Henry Kim, Makin Island ARG commodore. “I’m looking forward to advancing expeditionary advanced base operations, especially in the austere northern environments near the arctic.”

During Northern Edge 21, the Makin Island ARG and 15th MEU will leverage opportunities to test, proof, and experiment with potential future ARG/MEU employment options in support of joint forces to advance and inform service concepts and ensure continued viability of the ARG/MEU in today’s evolving operating environment.

A U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey, assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor 164 (Reinforced), 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, prepares to take off from the flight deck aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) in support of Northern Edge 2021. Approximately 15,000 U.S. service members are participating in a joint training exercise hosted by U.S. Pacific Air Forces May 3-14, 2021, on and above the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, the Gulf of Alaska, and temporary maritime activities area. NE21 is one in a series of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercises designed to sharpen the joint forces’ skills; to practice tactics, techniques, and procedures; to improve command, control and communication relationships; and to develop cooperative plans and programs. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Nadia Lund)

“As a forward deployed naval expeditionary force, along with our Makin Island ARG counterparts, 15th MEU is uniquely postured to validate and inform future capabilities and operating concepts,” said Col. Fridrik Fridriksson, 15th MEU commanding officer. “As an Alaska native, I’m truly excited to be in my home state and for the opportunity to test our capabilities in a climate different to what we have experienced thus far during this deployment.”

The Makin Island ARG and embarked 15th MEU provides the combatant commander with a responsive, flexible and forward-deployed asset capable of maritime power projection, contingency operations and crisis response, shaping the operational environment to protect the United States and allied interests in any threat environment.

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