The USS Boxer, USS New Orleans, and USS Harpers Ferry - all part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (BOXARG) - is slated to depart San Diego on Friday for deployment to the Western Pacific and the Middle East.
Roughly 2,400 Marines from Camp Pendleton's 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit will deploy with the BOXARG, including members of the Small Craft Action Team:
This team of more than three dozen Marines and Sailors trains to respond against a serious threat; fast boats used by pirates and hostile nations, loaded with armed men and heavy weapons.
What makes Pirates and other hostile groups dangerous to modern naval warships is their small size, agile speed, powerful weapons and coordinated numbers, like a swarm of killer bees.
The USS Boxer will be making a bit of history during this deployment. It will become the first west coast ship to deploy with the MV-22 Osprey aircraft, according to Military.com:
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 166 (Reinforced) is embarked on Boxer as a part of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and will deploy with a complement of 12 Ospreys.
The Osprey is intended to replace the CH-46E Sea Knight, the platform the Marine Corps has used since the Vietnam War. The Osprey can carry more combat troops and has a further flight range than the Sea Knight.
Capt. Malcolm Potts, Commander of BOXARG, said of the upcoming deployment:
"We've had a very rigorous training cycle to prepare us to execute any mission when called upon. I am awed and impressed by the ingenuity, creativity, and industriousness of the 4,200 dedicated Sailors and Marines that serve on our ships."