Somali Pirates: Why The USS Boxer Matters

April 11, 2009

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.

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  1. Molon Labe says:

    Forget it. He doesn’t have the nads.

  2. Old Trooper says:

    The last thing that We need is to put Marines ashore in Somalia. Boarding parties for Pirate Motherships yes. What is needed is air strikes on the Pirate shore bases and and yes, the Pretender in Chief would call that American Arrogance.

  3. Philip McDaniel says:

    A show of force. If it is to just stand while negotiations take their inevitable course towards ransom payment and then having to pick up the captain on land it, will be a demonstration in futility – a giant brought to its knees by a Lilliputian. If it’s intended to send in a two pronged strike force, one acquiring the captain and the other cleaning out the pirate’s nest, it’s using a hammer where a surgeon’s knife is needed. Either way it invites ridicule and possibly disaster. There are better ways to handle this.

  4. Dave Lawrence says:

    Re: Putting Marines ashore. The 2,000 Marines mentioned comprise a task-organized Marine Expeditionary Unit, with ground combat, logistics and air elements. The air element is also task-organized, normally heavy with helicopters for troop and cargo lift, and usually supported with attack helicopters and AV-8 Harriers. The Boxer is a Wasp-class LHD, similar to the LHAs built in the ’70s, but configured for the LCAC air cushion landing craft. While the “usual” operational concept for MEUs involves landing Marines across some beach, they are often (maybe normally – I’ve been out for a while) Special Operations Qualified, and capable of great flexibility.

  5. D. Howland says:

    1. Phillip McDaniel – “Either way it invites ridicule and possibly disaster. There are better ways to handle this.” Please give us your options.
    2. In my opinion, the US needs to flex its muscle once again, and so does the rest of the civilized world, to stop piracy. Force is the only way. You can not successfully argue (negotiate) with a “drunk”.

  6. DaveinPhoenix says:

    At any rate, I have hugely more faith in our armed forces than I do our pantywaste president, advisors, and congress – so long as they are allowed to the job which they have been trained for.

  7. Philip McDaniel says:

    D. Howland;
    Dave Lawrence has hinted at a Special Ops strike I believe…at least the Boxer is capable as he points out. If we are serious and intend to strike and overwhelmingly strike hard, with the world watching, and we then get out successfully this is the best. It puts everyone on notice that we are not to be messed with, are not weak and indecisive, and that everywhere is potentially our back yard. However, I do not believe this administration has the will or even understands the global stakes enough to be able to carry this through. (Remember Jimmy Carter?) So I would opt for the following: Back off the warships, pay the ransom, get the captain back and everyone on their merry way. Then, a few days or a couple of weeks later hit them hard and fast. Wipe out their nests, all their boats, and any munitions/fuel stores we can find. A deep black op. No id’s. Mercenaries, if you will.

  8. ThomasD says:

    Shades of Jimmah asking Delta if they can just shoot them in the leg rather than shoot to kill…

  9. Stan the GOP killer says:

    You folks suck! That is all there is to it. You folks suck! Losing really brings out the worst in your character. Boo fricken hoo! If you wanted a king – go to Saudi Arabia. If ya wanted a loser – go to Africa and pick a tyrant to worship. If ya wanted a dry drunk – all hat and no cattle preznit – go to Dallas and stay with W.
    Either stand behind and assist, or get out of our way. We have too much work to do cleaning up your mess. If that is hard for you to understand, go to a tea party and the loons will advise you. Tea bagging! you folks suck!

  10. man_in_tx says:

    Mewonders if the President feels some sort of kinship with the pirates — as I am told his Kenyan father’s tribe’s traditional homeland is located not far from Somalia. Here he may feel he is being forced to choose between offing his cousins to save one lousy cracker ship captain and saving the captain and alienating the folks that REALLY matter to him (think of his recent cringing bow before the runling monarch of KSA) his beloved friends and relatives in the Muslim world. P.S. I would be delighted should the President prove me wrong and show the cojones that GWB lacked when it came to acting decisively against these pirates. For now, the Limbaughs and Hannitys can only say that Obama is following in GWB’s timid footsteps when it came to dealing with Somalia’s Jihadi Pirates.

  11. RON says:

    Yeah OK, The president is weak?!! what the heck?!! So I guess his choice to expand missle strikes in Afganistan and send addtional troops where the real terrorits and not some skinny dirty destitute hungry somalis are is a sign of not having the nads huh? They dont even have a government. They are a collection of bandits so what are you gonna do Black Hawk Down II?Americans loves sequels no matter how bad they are. Most of you are a truly bloodthirsty lot. All of us know that if we lived on 50 bucks a month we would all become pirates for a pay day of 1 million, Shoot I just may quit my job and do that myself. You would think that 2 wars, thousands wounded dead and and our forces spread all over the planet would be enough for all you right wing warmongers. Show of force, Attack, Take down, Blow to smithereens, Shock and awe, Flex muscles, Strike hard, no dipolomacy, are these the only words that Republicans know now. Have the previous 8 years only made us a one trick pony..real sad.

  12. RON says:

    Sorry I forgot we also use the word NO!! as in no talk, no compromise, no working for the greater good, no increased spending on social programs,no to stimulus, no to bank bailouts, no taxes but spend all you want on messed up wars. No adjusting the Defense Budget, No president that is not anglo-saxon, no spokesman other then Rush, No diplomacy, no fixing problems, no to anything…no brains.

  13. Ira C, Binning Jr. says:

    Boy you sheeple really make me sick.My first thought is simple,make a stand or sit back and do nothing.Are we so weak minded that we allow a bunch of third world thieves to take what they will,or do we act now.I say do whatever it takes to stop them.Americans love a winner, and will not tolerate a loser.

  14. in_awe says:

    I suggest taking over civil and marine radio frequencies for a week and broadcast non-stop warnings that any vessel approaching within 1/2 mile of another ship on the high seas is subject to being sunk without warning. Then allow commercial ships and pleasure craft to carry armed crew members. After a few sinkings I think recruitment of pirates might be a bit tougher back in Somalia.

  15. southdakotaboy says:

    Old Big Ears Obama is getting flipped the Bird by a bunch of punks in a life boat that has no fuel. How pathetic is that. What a losser. If the far right in this country ever does decide to have a revolution he will just stand in a corner and wet himself.

  16. Kat says:

    Right on southdakotaboy…. and right behind Obambi will be his minions pissing their own pants including the troll like Stan above.

  17. Pat Patterson says:

    For at least the last 2,500 years raids into pirate territory have often consisted of simply destroying the base of operations. The Romans would have yearly campaigns of striking into hostile territory with the simple goal of not expanding the Republic or Empire but to simply remind those with short attention spans of the consequences of attacking Roman insterests. The estimated population for Gara’ad, apparently the pirate’s port, is between 800 and 1,500 so sheer weight of numbers and the probability that many of the residents are not fighters means a quick victory. Then burn the city, the docks and any ships in port. Brutal but puts the pirates at a distinct disadvantage for months and serves as a good example for others.
    Then the hard part will be recreating the Somali Navy which can then run off the poachers that have driven the Somali’s from their own fishing grounds.

  18. d smith says:

    my husband is on the uss boxer. reading these comments – some of you are so ungrateful for their service and commitment it makes me sick.

  19. Lisa Anderson says:

    My son in on the USS Boxer, and I am proud of him, and his efforts. He is with the CLB 13. I am also proud of President Obama! Some of you need to get a life!

  20. A says:

    My husband is aboard the boxer and you need more respect for the men serving our country im sure the most of you bashing the military would never put yourself in the spot or even have a job equivalent of what they do. If you dont support our men then gladly stand infront and i wont stop you one bit! My husband works hard and I support all he is. I dont support the new man in charge of this country at all! I dont agree with his standing on abortion, his religios practices (as he doesnt follow just one), his lack of priority in situations and his words he uses for the country my husband and many other military people support. We need to go back to so many changes. Praying God puts his hand on this. Thankful for all the military and all they do!