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ESXARG, 13th MEU Participate in Eastern Maverick 19
Story by PO3 Reymundo Villegas on 01/13/2019
ARABIAN GULF — USS Essex (LHD 2) and USS Rushmore (LSD 47) as part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ESXARG) and embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) participated in Eastern Maverick 19 (EM 19) with the Qatar Armed Forces, November 25-29.
EM 19 is an annual bilateral amphibious and land-based exercise to strengthen critical warfighting capabilities and enhance interoperability and operational readiness with the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Qatari Armed Forces.
“We enjoyed hosting the Qatari Armed Forces aboard Rushmore,” said Cmdr. Robert Tryon, commanding officer of Rushmore, “We demonstrated the many capabilities of amphibious warships.”
Members of the Qatari marines embarked Rushmore in an MV-22 Osprey and were later provided a comprehensive tour of the assault amphibious vehicles (AAV).
“We were able to tour the AAVs and see how amphibious operations take place on the ship rather than if we were at home,” said Lt. Thamer Al-Shahwani, an officer of the Qatar Marines.
At the Qatari naval base, the 13th MEU and Qatari Marines conducted bilateral training which included patrolling, urban combat and room clearing techniques, and medical training. The exercise concluded with a field meet.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to work with the newly formed Qatari Marine Corps,” said 1st Lt. Benjamin Newman, platoon commander, Bravo Company, 13th MEU. “Their enthusiasm and drive shows their commitment to the organization.”
Eastern Maverick 19 marks the second partnership strengthening engagement between the Qatari Armed Forces and the Essex ARG and 13th MEU. In September, Essex became the largest U.S. Navy ship to pull into Doha, Qatar.
ESXARG is comprised of Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23), Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47) and the 13th MEU. The ESXARG is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operation as part of a regularly scheduled deployment in support of maritime security operations.
The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses nearly 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The region is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab-al-Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.
For more news from Essex, visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd2/. Follow USS Essex (LHD 2) on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ USSESSEX.
For more news on USS Anchorage (LPD 23), visit www.navy.mil/local/LPD23/. Follow USS Anchorage (LPD 23) on Facebook at www.facebook.com/anchoragelpd23
For more news from USS Rushmore (LSD 47), visit http://www.rushmore.navy.mil. Follow USS Rushmore (LSD 47) at https://www.facebook.com/USSRushmore.
For more news from the 13th MEU, visit https://www.13thmeu.marines.mil/. Follow the 13th MEU at https://www.facebook.com/13thMEUView.