4,500 Sailors, Marines returning home from deployment

Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group spent 6 months conducting security ops

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - They've spent the last six months operating in Europe, Africa and the Middle East conducting maritime security operations, and Thursday these more than 4,500 services members will return home to their families and friends.

The U.S. Sailors and Marines have been serving with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, which includes two Naval Station Mayport-based ships: USS Iwo Jima and USS New York. A third ship deployed with the Iwo Jima ARG -- the USS Oak Hill -- will return Thursday to Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Virginia.

In this unique deployment that began in February, 2,500 Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit joined Sailors at sea. Marines returned home to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina on August 4. 

SLIDESHOW: 26th MEU returns

While it's impossible to share everything our service members did while deployed the last six months, I put together the video with this story to share a peek of some of what did happen aboard Mayport-based Iwo Jima and New York. 

About this Iwo Jima ARG deployment

The Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group deployed February 7, 2018, along with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Included in the IWO ARG, is the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 4 and FST-8, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28, Tactical Air Control Squadron 22, components of Naval Beach Group 2 and the embarked staff of Amphibious Squadron 4.

Over the past six months, these forces not only provided maritime security, but also crisis response in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

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