NEWS | April 20, 2021

UK Minister of Armed Forces and Chargé d’Affairs welcomed on USS Iwo Jima

By IWOARG Public Affairs

The U.K. Minister of Armed Forces and the U.S. Chargé d’Affairs from London visited the USS Iwo Jima, flagship of the IWO Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) in the Celtic Sea, April 12, 2021.

United Kingdom’s Minister of Armed Forces James Heappey and Yael Lempert, the U.S Chargé d’Affairs, a.i. of the US Embassy in London were joined by U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Jefferson J. O'Donnell, the U.S. Senior Defense Official and Defense Attaché in the United Kingdom.

The visit follows the IWOARG and 24th MEU’s conduct of amphibious interoperability exercises with U.K. Forces, reinforcing the enduring, special relationship between the United States and United Kingdom.

"It was an honour to visit the USS Iwo Jima and to see how servicemen and women from our two countries work hand-in-hand,” Heappey said.  “The U.S. is our closest ally and security partner and we will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder as we tackle future threats together."

The guests observed flight operations from the ship’s flight deck, toured the ship, and met with leadership aboard the Iwo Jima.

"It was a privilege to meet the U.S. servicemen and women aboard the USS Iwo Jima who are working to protect our shared maritime security, alongside our closest partner,” Lempert said. “Together with our British allies, we stand ready to meet the global challenges of the 21st century.”  

The visit came days before transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17), and dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) arrived in Plymouth, U.K. for maintenance and logistics support. As maritime nations, the U.S. and U.K. maintain high-end naval integration at every level of warfare from logistics and maintenance to exercises and operations.

Other highlights of U.S. and U.K. naval partnership include Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) operations as part of the Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth Strike Group and U.S. Marine Corps F-35Bs operations as part of the air wing.

The IWO ARG consists of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17), and dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50). Embarked detachments include Amphibious Squadron Four, Fleet Surgical Team (FST) Six, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 26, Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 21, Naval Beach Group (NBG) Two, Beach Master Unit (BMU) Two, Assault Craft Unit (ACU) Two and Four, and Sailors from Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) Two.

The 24th MEU consists of a command element, a ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 1/8, a logistics combat element, Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 24, and an aviation combat element, Marine Medium Tilt-Rotor Squadron (VMM) 162 Reinforced.  

The Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (IWOARG) and the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) have been conducting operations in the Sixth Fleet area of operations since March 31, 2021.

U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

For the latest details about the IWOARG and 24th MEU follow:  Amphibious Squadron Four, 24th MEU, USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), USS San Antonio (LPD 17), and USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) on Facebook.