The Flexibility of the ARG
A Day in the Life of the PELEULIU ARG and 15th MEU
Colonel Roy "Ozzie" Osborn, commanding officer of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, concentrates as he performs a difficult hover drop of relief supplies during humanitarian relief efforts in the southern province of Sindh, Pakistan Credit: 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit Public Affairs, 9/26/10
03/10/2011 – During an interview with 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 .
Helicopters from USS DUBUQUE provide aerial watch as Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Maritime Raid Force board and seize control of the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged, German-owned vessel M/V Magellan Star, left, Sept. 9, a day after pirates attacked and boarded the vessel. Credit: www.quantico.usmc.mil
Colonel Osborn explained these concurrent activities as follows:
On September the 8th, we had the USS DUBUQUE off the coast of Somalia, Horn of Africa in the Gulf of Aden, doing counter-piracy patrols and stuff. The USS PEARL HARBOR was also further down off the coast of Somalia doing counter-piracy operations as well. It was basically just doing intelligence operations.The USS PELELIU is off the coast of Karachi. I’m actually inland in Pakistan. I’m 220 miles inland in Pakistan with part of the ACE and part of my command element – a very small part. Pakistan has limited us to 300 boots on the ground.
The MV Magellan Star gets captured by Somali pirates. The crew on the Magellan Star did exactly what they’re supposed to do – which is put the ship dead in the water, lock themselves in the citadel, get on their SAT phone and asking for help. The USS PRINCETON was in the vicinity and so was the USS DUBUQUE, they pushed the USS PRINCETON up close to provide assistance. The USS DUBUQUE moved into position, and by about midnight on the 8th, we had approval from Admiral Fox to do the recovery, to do the takedown.The issue with that was we had spent months training — months and months, almost a year — we had also briefed every 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, all the way up to Admiral Fox and anyone we could in CENTCOM and 5th Fleet on our capabilities. To the point where Admiral Fox was comfortable that we could execute the mission and succeed. That’s critical.
SLD: So the Admiral could be confident that you could do the job.
Colonel Osborne: High confidence. I get the call, they were going to do the mission, I’m in Pakistan, so I’m up on chat and I’m up on the secure comms system talking to the guys. The Commodore aboard the PELELIU is off the coast of Karachi, he’s up on chat and secure voice with me. The USS DUBUQUE is over a 1,000 miles away executing the mission. That morning, they were getting ready to do the mission from the DUBUQUE to take down the Magellan Star. Aboard the USS PELELIU at 04:30 in the morning we launched the first section of jets into Afghanistan. At 07:00, we launched two more jets.
SLD: Off of?
Colonel Osborne: Off the PELELIU. That morning at 08:00, we launched six aircraft to fly relief missions up in Pakistan. So by now, I’ve got Marines and Sailors in Pakistan doing missions. Marines over Afghanistan and that day, they dropped two GBU-54s on a tree line, took out a whole bunch of insurgents. And we recovered the Magellan Star with our Maritime Raid Force and the USS DUBUQUE. I also had Marines and Sailors supporting operations in the Horn of Africa. I had Marines in Saudi Arabia getting ready to do a training event. I had Marines that were getting set up to do a training event with the Yemenis. I also had Marines in Bahrain, had Marines that were getting ready to go to India, and I had Marines that were transiting back to the states. The day that we did the Magellan Star, we had Marines and Sailors from our MEU in nine countries, on three continents, and we executed three separate missions all in the same day that were primary missions. That’s what our ARG/MEUs are doing.
The day that we did the Magellan Star, we had Marines and Sailors from our MEU in nine countries, on three continents, and we executed three separate missions all in the same day that were primary missions. That’s what our ARG/MEUs are doing.
- On the 15th MEU and Pakistan relief efforts see: http://www.i-mef.usmc.mil/external/15thmeu/news/news_2010_09_05.jsp