The Agile Response Group or the ARG Reconsidered

08/15/2011: The Agile Response Group: A Slideshow Illustrates the Agility

By Robbin Laird

See below for Credits

A recent Secretary of Defense puzzled over the future of the Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and noted that there has not been a fully scale Amphib direct assault since the Korean War and concluded that perhaps it is not a useful asset. If he had puzzled over the ARG as the Agile Response Group he would have noticed that it is prepared to operate over the spectrum of warfare every time it goes out. He might also have noted that the onboard assets are not tethered to the ships but can operate off of the deck ashore, among other places.

But it is clear that the range of ops able to be done concurrently is not widely grasped in the strategic community. We highlighted that in an interview with “Ozzie” Osborn, the 15th MEU commander.

Colonel Roy “Ozzie” Osborn, recently commanding officer of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, SLD discussed the flexibility of the Amphibious Ready Group and Marine Expeditionary Unit team demonstrated by three concurrent operations on September 9th, 2010. On that day:

• Part of the ARG using Harriers provided close air support in Afghanistan.

• Part of the ARG, took the Magellan Star away from Pirates.

• Another part of the ARG provided flood relief in Pakistan via helo support from the ARG .

http://www.sldinfo.com/the-flexibility-of-the-arg/

And we have recently conducted an interview with Col. Mark Desens, 26th MEU commander. The 26th MEU was the force parked off of Libya for support to Odyssey Dawn. But less noted are the range of operations, which the 26th MEU engaged in during Desens time in command.

Some of these included:

  • Support for operation enduring freedom,
  • Pakistan flood relief,
  • Bilateral training with partners,
  • Counter piracy patrols,
  • Support for Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisian contingency operations,
  • And of course Odyssey Dawn.

We discussed these activities with Col. Desens, and we will highlight findings during our interview.

But for now, we have organized a slide show which visualizes the range of these operations in a way words cannot easily express.

  • In the first photo, Marines from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266 arrive aboard Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, as an augment from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit Jan. 15. (Credit: 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Forward).
  • In the second photo, Aviation Support Equipment Technician 3rd Class Jack Strickland, left, and Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Josh Goodrich are seen standing roving security watch on the flight deck as amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) approaches Ash Shuaybah, Kuwait. Kearsarge is the command ship of Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group. (Credit: USN Visual Service, 1/11/11).
  • In the third photo, a U.S. Marine Corps M1A1 Abrams Tank with 2nd Tank Platoon, Delta Company, 1st Tank Battalion, attached to Battalion Landing Team 3/8, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Regimental Combat Team 2, prepares to leave Combat Outpost Ouellette, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Jan. 30, 2011. (Credit: USMC, 1/30/11).
  • In the fourth photo, U.S. Marine with 1st Platoon, Company I, Battalion Landing Team 3/8, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Regimental Combat Team 2, waves to local farmers during a security patrol near Turah Shah Ghundey, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 4, 2011. Elements of 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit deployed to Afghanistan to provide regional security in Helmand province in support of the International Security Assistance Force. (Credit: USMC, 2/4/11).
  • In the fifth photo, Amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) (right) and guided missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) (left) move in close formation for a scheduled photographic exercise known as a PHOTOEX. The ships participating in this PHOTOEX maneuver in tight formation while Kearsarge sets the pace of travel by serving as the guide ship. (Credit: USN Visual Service, 2/16/11).
  • In the sixth photo, Ships of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group steam in close formation for a scheduled photographic exercise known as a PHOTOEX. (Credit: USN Visual Service, 2/16/11).
  • In the seventh photo, the amphibious transport dock ship USS Ponce is underway in the U.S. 5th fleet area of responsibility. Ponce is part of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group. (Credit: USN Visual Service, 2/16/11).
  • In the eighth photo, Marines with 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, wait to load evacuees onto a KC-130J Hercules in Djerba, Tunisia, March 5, 2011. 26th MEU was directed by the Department of Defense to help evacuate Egyptians, who fled to the Tunisian border from Libya, get back to Egypt. (Credit: USMC, 3/5/11).
  • In the ninth photo, Marines with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, who are augmenting 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, prepare to board USS Kearsarge at Souda Bay, Greece. (Credit: USMC, 3/4/11).
  • In the tenth photo, Marines with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, who are augmenting 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, board USS Kearsarge at Souda Bay, Greece, March 4, 2011. (Credit: USMC, 3/4/11).
  • In the 11th photo, Sailors observe a vertical replenishment aboard USS Barry (DDG 52) during flight operations with USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). (Credit: USN Visual Service, 3/3/11).
  • In the 12th photo, sailors assigned to the deck department aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Ponce (LPD 15) prepare for a replenishment at sea with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196) and the Amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). Ponce is part of Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group. (Credit: USN Visual Service, 3/10/11).
  • In the 13th photo, Egyptians board a KC-130J Hercules airplane in Djerba, Tunisia, March 9. 26th MEU was directed by the Department of Defense to help evacuate Egyptians, who fled to the Tunisian border from Libya, back to Egypt. (Credit: 26th MEU, 3/9/11).
  • In the 14th photo, Cpl. Sean Moberly with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 266, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, runs preflight checks on an AV-8B Harrier on the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge in preparation of Operation Odyssey Dawn missions. (Credit: USMC, 3/20/11).
  • In the 15th photo, Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Kolb, aviation boatswain’s mate (handling), salutes a MH-60S Seaawk of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22 as it takes off from amphibious transport dock USS Ponce. Ponce was part of Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group participating in Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn. (Credit: JTF Odyssey Dawn).
  • In the 16th photo, Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Kolb, aviation boatswain’s mate (handling), directs a U.S. Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk from the 56th Rescue Squadron while it takes off from amphibious transport dock USS Ponce. (Credit: JTF Odyssey Dawn).
  • In the 17th photo, Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Kolb, aviation boatswain’s mate (handling), directs a U.S. Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk from the 56th Rescue Squadron as it prepares to land aboard amphibious transport dock USS Ponce. (Credit: JTF Odyssey Dawn).
  • In the 18th photo, Staff Sgt. Garrett Fillingham prepares to wash down the main rotors on an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter from the 56th Rescue Squadron embarked aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Ponce. Based at Royal Air Force Base Lakenheath, England, the 56th Rescue Squadron is a U.S. Air Force detachment and is providing combat search and rescue support for coalition forces flying supporting Operation Odyssey Dawn missions. (Credit: USN Visual Service).
  • In the 19th photo, Amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) (right) and Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE 1) (left) prepare for a replenishment-at-sea. (Credit: USN Visual Service, 2/16/11).
  • In the final photo, U.S. Marines with 3rd Platoon, Company I, Battalion Landing Team 3/8, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Regimental Combat Team 8, begin a patrol from Kakar village, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 27, 2011. Elements of 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit deployed to Afghanistan to provide regional security in Helmand province in support of the International Security Assistance Force. (Credit: Regional Command SW Combat Camera, 2/27/11).

"If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking."

—General George Patton Jr.

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