Somali Pirates: Why The USS Boxer Matters
At this minute the latest development in the Somali pirate hostage situation is the deployment of the USS Boxer. It may be there as early as today. Whether it is used or not is one thing, but the USS Boxer's capabilities shouldn't be ignored.
The guided missile frigate USS Halyburton, with helicopter capabilities, has now joined the guided missile destroyer USS Bainbridge in the area. A third ship, the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer, which has a large medical facility on board, will be there within a day.
What's significant is not simply what the USS Boxer carries – approximately 2000 Marines:
The San Diego-based warship USS Boxer,which gets many of its munitions from the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station and carries Marines from Camp Pendleton, is en route to the coast of Somalia to help deal with the pirates who have taken an American captain hostage.
It's what the USS Boxer does that warrants some attention. Think Tripoli, as in shores of….
The service members deployed to the beach from the USS Boxer, flagship of Combined Task Force-151, a multi-national task force conducting anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
Peter Brennan, Commander of the Strike Group, discussed the importance of the event.
"In this type of event, everybody gains proficiency. We are an amphibious force, and we get to exercise our skills both at sea and ashore," said Brennan. "The Navy will fine-tune their skills to bring the Marines ashore."
To maintain mission readiness, the Strike Group and MEU conducted three similar LCAC landings prior to their current deployment. Since leaving their homeport of San Diego, they have been able to conduct two additional landings.
"We have had the opportunity since we deployed in January to do exercises in Guam and the Maldives, but in the 5th Fleet area of operations this is our first big opportunity to get most of the heavy gear ashore, to exercise the skills the Marines have," said Brennan.
While in Djibouti, the Sailors and Marines will be conducting training exercises with the Djiboutian and French militaries. The training exercises will incorporate various joint military operations including additional amphibious landings.