By USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) Public Affairs
The three ships of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) completed the first large-scale replenishment-at-sea (RAS) of its 2018 deployment Feb. 25, with the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12).
Each of the ships—the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) and the Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51)—executed a RAS as the Iwo Jima ARG begins conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.
“A RAS like this takes lots of planning and effort,” said Cmdr. Thomas Jenkins, Iwo Jima’s supply officer. “This was our largest RAS in more than a year and really prepares us for our mission as a whole. Receiving the necessary supplies, food and fuel that are vital to our success throughout deployment lets us better execute the task at hand and provide our Sailors and Marines with the tools they need to succeed.”
The Iwo Jima ARG took on a combined 425 pallets of supplies and more than one million gallons of fuel for ships and aircraft.
The highlight of the replenishment for many of the 4,500 Sailors and Marines was receiving the first set of care packages of deployment.
“It may only have been a couple weeks since we left, but it’s important for everyone aboard to receive those packages,” said Marine Cpl. Jeremy Newsome, assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and serving as a postal clerk aboard Iwo Jima. “I think that mail is the number one morale booster while on deployment.”
The Iwo Jima ARG is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations. It embarks the 26th MEU and includes Iwo Jima, New York, Oak Hill, Fleet Surgical Teams 4 and 8, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 22, components of Naval Beach Group 2 and the embarked staff of Amphibious Squadron 4.