By Lt. Eric Uhden
The Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), operating as part of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Readiness Group (IWOARG), departed Naval Station (NS) Rota, Spain, May 21, 2021 after its five-day maintenance and logistics stop.
Carter Hall’s visit to NS Rota allowed the ship to take on over 60 pallets of supplies, parts and mail for the crew. It also provided the crew time for rest and relaxation before the ship continued its deployment in support of maritime security.
NS Rota was a “working port” for the crew, meaning the crew had the opportunity to take liberty after each work day. The crew had access to the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Rota “Fleet Zone,” an on-base area consisting of restaurants, sports fields, bowling alley, and liberty center. NS Rota’s Navy Exchange and Commissary provided exclusive hours for the crew to maintain their COVID-free deployment.
"Our time onboard NS Rota surely lived up to the "working port" we planned it to be,” said Cmdr. LaDonna Simpson, Carter Hall’s commanding officer. “The crew welcomed and said goodbye to several of its members, efforts continued to maintain and preserve the ships capabilities, and we were able to enjoy many of the on base amenities. This was another successful time in port that will keep us ready to meet future tasking."
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.
Carter Hall 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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