SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Thousands of service members with the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and USS Russell arrived home in San Diego on Friday.
More than 5,000 sailors and Marines of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group arrived off the coast of Southern California this morning and will conclude a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th Fleet areas of operation.
Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, embarked aboard the ships of the ready group will disembark at Camp Pendleton.
USS Makin Island, USS San Diego and USS Somerset will return to port at Naval Base San Diego following the offload. A contingent of USMC personnel will remain aboard the ships for the pier side arrival.
"I am so proud of the resilience and strength of character our sailors and Marines displayed while serving our nation across four different fleets," said Capt. Henry Kim, Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group commander. "Despite the additional challenges of protecting a COVID-free bubble within the ARG, our Blue-Green Team determinedly exemplified the mottos of all three ships, `Gung Ho!' `Stay Classy!' and `Let's Roll!"'
The group is comprised of the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island and amphibious transport dock ships USS San Diego and USS Somerset.
It departed Nov.10, after completing a pre-deployment sequester and back-to-back at-sea exercises in October.
Also Friday, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Russell returned to San Diego Friday, following a deployment to U.S. 3rd and 7th Fleet areas of operations.
The Russell crew left San Diego in early December to take part in a sustainment exercise with the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group before deploying to the Indo-Pacific last Dec. 23.
"Russell's `Red Dragons' demonstrated that no matter the tasking, whether it is assisting those in need, supporting partnerships with allies, or integrating with joint forces -- from the Southern Hemisphere to the Arctic region -- we are able to accomplish an incredible variety of missions wherever we are needed," said Cmdr. James Hopp, the ship's commanding officer. "This crew has shown remarkable resilience and skill, and should be especially proud of what they accomplished this deployment."
While operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet, Russell's crew conducted operations in Oceania and also worked with the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Papua, New Guinea. While operating in the Indian Ocean, Russell participated in a joint force maritime exercise with the Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, and Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group.