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NEWS | June 5, 2024

USS Oak Hill Departs Brest, France

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin Kemble

The Harper’s Ferry-class amphibious landing dock USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) departed Brest, France after a scheduled four-day port visit, June 3, 2024.

Oak Hill Sailors and Marines, as well as the embarked 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Special Operations Capable (SOC) and Sailors assigned to Beach Masters Unit (BMU) 2 visited with French Navy counterparts assigned to amphibious assault ship FS Mistral (L9013) while in Brest. Together, U.S. and French forces planned and participated in a variety of events celebrating the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings and Operation Overlord, the decisive World War II campaign that brought Allied troops ashore in nearby Normandy.

Cmdr. Jason Nowell, Oak Hill’s commanding officer, visited the Mistral to meet Capt. Olivier Roussille, Mistral’s commanding officer, for a concept of operations (CONOPS) brief about the D-Day celebration.

“I worked alongside Roussille and our staffs to coordinate all of the events our ships are executing,” said Nowell. “We all have the same goals, safely and smartly executing our evolutions to commemorate and honor the 80th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy. It’s important we work together for this event. Our demonstrations ensure people don’t just read about these brave historic events in books—they see and experience it. Equally important, we continue to strengthen our partnership with France.”

The events Sailors and Marines will participate in during the D-Day celebration at Normandy include ceremony, landing craft, utility (LCU) demonstrations, and a commemorative hike.

Tours for French and U.S. Sailors and Marines were conducted aboard both Oak Hill and Mistral. In addition to these tours, the Mistral crew hosted a high-intensity interval training competition aboard the French ship, allowing not only for a friendly test of strength, but also creating bonds and strengthening relations between countries.

“I don’t think I’ll have a chance like this again,” said Information Specialist 2nd Class Bretburton Clark, one of Oak Hill’s competitors. “The course was fun, but it destroyed us. Teaming up with [the French Navy,] I got to talk to them and make friends with them. I learned so much about their culture.”

France is a long-standing NATO ally of the United States, dating back to NATO’s inception in 1949. The celebration provided a chance to further strengthen the U.S.’s relationship with France, while allowing the Sailors and Marines to memorialize World War II and a cultural exchange.

D-Day was an amphibious and airborne assault on the beaches of Normandy during World War II conducted by United States, United Kingdom and other Allied forces to liberate France from Nazi-Germany control on June 6, 1944.

Oak Hill deployed from Norfolk, Virginia, May 22, and has conducted training, exercises, and operations to support maritime stability and security in defense of U.S., Allied, and partner interests.

Oak Hill is conducting operations in U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations as part of the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group (WSP ARG)-24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Special Operations Capable (SOC).

The WSP ARG-24th MEU (SOC) is comprised of its flagship namesake, the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), Oak Hill, and the embarked 24th MEU (SOC).

The 24th MEU (SOC) is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) with a command element, Aviation Combat Element (Medium Marine Tiltrotor Squadron 365 (Reinforced), Ground Combat Element (Battalion Landing Team 1/8), and Logistics Combat Element (Combat Logistics Battalion 24).

For more than 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with our Allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.

To learn more about WASP ARG and 24th MEU “Team of Teams,” visit their DVIDS feature page at
You can find Amphibious Squadron 4, Wasp Amphibious Ready Group on Facebook and DVIDS.
You can find the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit on Facebook, Twitter (@the24MEU), Instagram (@24MEU), and DVIDS.
You can find USS Wasp on Facebook and Instagram (@usswasp_lhd1)
You can find USS New York on Facebook and Instagram (@uss_newyork)
You can find USS Oak Hill on Facebook.