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Kearsarge, 26th MEU Begin ARG Exercise - A landing craft air cushion (LCAC) approaches the well deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3)
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aren Everett, USS Kearsarge Public Affairs

ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Sailors from the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (KSGARG) and Marines assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) kicked off the KSGARG/MEU Exercise (ARGMEUEX) in the waters east of of the United States June 13.

The KSGARG comprises Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 4, 26th MEU, amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24) and dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51).

According to Kearsarge Command Master Chief David Twiford, ARGMEUEX is a more than two-week exercise that gives the KSGARG the opportunity to come together and work on integration in preparation for deployment.

"These ships go through a cycle every couple years to get ready to deploy," said Twiford. "The MEU does the same thing. While we're off doing some workups throughout the year, they're off doing their own version of workups, and so these underway periods are a great opportunity to come together."

Twiford said ARGMEUEX will be a comprehensive exercise that stresses everything from large operations, such as transporting Marines to and from the ship, to smaller issues, such as meal and laundry service.

"This is an opportunity to make sure that our team is ready to go on all fronts, logistically, warfighting, communications, the whole nine yards," said Twiford.

The KSGARG is scheduled to execute and respond to numerous scenarios designed to test the many capabilities of the amphibious force, including a missile exercise, amphibious operations, well deck operations and air operations.

"You name it; if an amphib. does it, we're going to do it in the next two weeks," said Twiford.

Following the conclusion of the exercise, the KSGARG will participate in the Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), which is the final certification before deployment. Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 4 oversees and conducts both ARGMEUEX and COMPTUEX.

The KSGARG is scheduled to deploy in fall 2015.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Corbin J. Shea
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