Mayport's Iwo Jima group ready for operations against ISIS in Syria, Iraq

Mayport's Iwo Jima group ready for operations against ISIS in Syria, Iraq


Tue, Jan 13, 2015 @ 9:39 am

updated Tue, Jan 13, 2015 @ 10:21 am

Mayport Naval Station’s Iwo Jima amphibious ready group (ARG), along
with its 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), is headed for the fight.
The group is relieving the Makin Island ARG that has been taking part
in operations against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq, the Navy
announced Sunday.
The teeth of the amphibious ready group lies in its Marines and
aircraft. All three of the ships, the USS Iwo Jima, New York and Ft.
McHenry, are able to land and launch V-22 Ospreys, helicopters and
unmanned aerial vehicles.
The Iwo Jima, with its large flight deck, can also accommodate Harrier jets.

Though specifics of the Iwo Jima group’s operations remain a tightly
held secret, the operations of the group it is relieving can provide
“The Makin Island ARG originally arrived in [theater] Sept. 12, 2014
and immediately conducted air operations in support of Operation
Inherent Resolve’s coalition air campaign including non-traditional
intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance flights over Iraq and
Syria,” according to the Navy press release.
Though the term “non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and
reconnaissance” sounds complicated, it really isn’t, according to the
Naval War College professor of strategy James R. Holmes.“[The term] involves using manned tactical aircraft — Harriers in the
case of Makin Island and her sisters — as reconnaissance aircraft,”
Holmes said. “The main purpose of Harrier sorties will be to survey
potential targets in Iraq and Syria, but the planes will be both armed
and authorized to use ordnance if the situation warrants.”“If you spot ISIS units on the ground, the target may well have moved
by the time you call in fire support from elsewhere. Better to be
prompt, speed kills.”
The move marks a sobering point for the ARG’s sailors and Marines.

The New York spent New Years in Israel hosting the U.S. ambassador
and representatives from the Israeli Defense Force. The Ft. McHenry
stopped off in Spain to host dignitaries.
Now the hobnobbing is over and the sailors and Marines will get down to the serious business of war.