The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan leaves the Middle East after almost 3 months; Essex ARG, 11th MEU enters Persian Gulf


USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) sails in the Arabian Sea on September 6, 2021. US Navy photo

This article has been updated to show that the Reagan Carrier Strike Group has left US Central Command.

The Japan-based Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group has left the Middle East after operating in the region since June, a Navy official confirmed to USNI News on Thursday.

This week the USS Ronald reagan (CVN-76) and its escorts crossed the US 5th Fleet in the Indian Ocean and the US 7th Fleet. The attack group was routed to US Central Command to support the military withdrawal from Afghanistan and provide a persistent “on the horizon” counterterrorism capability in conjunction with US bases in the Middle East.

Reagan’s Switching to CENTCOM was the first time a US carrier based in Japan since USS Kitty hawk (CV-63) deployed to the Persian Gulf in 2003.

Meanwhile, the Essex Amphibious Ready Group is now in the Persian Gulf after passing through the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, the Navy said on social media.

USS based on the West Coast Essex (LHD-2), amphibious transport dock USS Portland (LPD-27) and the amphibious landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD-52) with the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit had entered the North Arabian Sea and United States Central Command on Sunday, as reported by USNI News.

Essex ARG’s transition to the Gulf follows their departure from California on August 12 and a rapid transit through the Western Pacific.

The 11th MEU, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Is comprised of the 1/1 Battalion Landing Team, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 165 (Reinforced), Marine Attack Squadron 214 and of the combat logistics battalion 11.

The Iwo Jima ARG was operating in the Red Sea on Thursday, a Navy official told USNI News.

USS Iwo jima (LHD-7), USS Carter Room (LSD-50) and USS San Antonio (LPD-17) with the embarked 24th MEU arrived in the region in June and joined the US effort to withdraw from Afghanistan.

Two thousand ARG Marines were transferred to Kuwait and then to Kabul by military airlift as part of the non-combatant evacuation operation. Sgt. Nicole Gee with the 24th MEU was killed in an August 26 attack outside Hamid Karzai International Airport along with 10 other Marines, a soldier and a sailor.

The 24th MEU, based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, is comprised of Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 1/8, Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 24, and Medium Tiltrotor Squadron Reinforced (VMM) 162, as well as a Light Armored Reconnaissance Detachment.

The California-based Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group was operating in the South China Sea earlier this week.


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