By U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs
Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), flagship of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG), departed Naval Station (NS) Rota, Spain, after completion of its mid-deployment voyage repair (MDVR), April 27, 2021.
Iwo Jima’s maintenance visit provided an opportunity for repairs and replacements of integral ship’s systems, including the starboard steering assembly assessment, the ship’s whistle, and a ship control system (SCS) network switch modification.
Support for the ship was coordinated through the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUPP) Fleet Logistics Center Sigonella – Rota, Forward Deployed Regional Maintenance Center (FDRMC) Detachment Rota, and Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia, Public Works Department Rota.
“Our port maintenance visit was especially successful due to the support of the installation and Installation Commanding Officer Capt. Dave Baird,” said Capt. David Loo, commanding officer, USS Iwo Jima. “What a fantastic place for us to have been able to pull into during our deployment. We were able to get a lot of maintenance and repairs done pier-side. Folks from NAVSUPP Fleet Logistics Center, the Forward Deployed RMC, and NAVFAC were standing by on the pier, ready to help and assist. Port Operations were more than ready to help support all of our pier-side facilities.”
The crew completed normal working days supported by in-port duty sections while in port, but were also offered a unique opportunity for liberty after working hours. Morale, Wellness, and Recreation (MWR) Rota sequestered their “Fleet Zone,” an on-base area consisting of restaurants, sports fields, bowling alley, and liberty center, for exclusive use by the crew of the Iwo Jima. NS Rota’s Navy Exchange and Commissary also opened their doors for exclusive hours, supporting the crew in maintaining their COVID-free deployment.
“I can't say enough about our stop in Naval Station Rota,” said Loo. “It was a big opportunity for the crew to find a safe port of call in the sixth fleet operating area, to get off the ship, rest, relax, and complete maintenance and continue our operations here in the sixth fleet operating area.”
Iwo Jima is operating in the Atlantic Ocean in support of naval operations to maintain maritime stability and security in order to ensure access, deter aggression, and defend U.S., allied, and partner interests.
The combined IWOARG and 24th MEU have roughly 4,300 Sailors and Marines. The ARG-MEU is deployed to SIXTHFLT in support of regional NATO Allies and partners as well as U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.
The IWOARG consists of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), Carter Hall (LSD 50) and the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17). Embarked detachments for the Iwo Jima ARG 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 mission is to provide the United States with a forward-deployed, amphibious force-in-readiness capable of executing missions across the full spectrum of combat and military operations other than war, and consists of four basic elements, the Command Element, Ground Combat Element, Air Combat Element and the Logistics Combat Element. The unit consists of 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.
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.
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