US Marine Corps, November 03, 2016 - MEDITERRANEAN SEA By Capt Jean F. Durham - Amphibious transport dock USS San Antonio (LPD 17) conducted precision air strikes with AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters during combat operations in support of Operation Odyssey Lightning.
These operations highlight the flexibility of the Amphibious Ready Group (ARG)/Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) team and the amphibious transport dock platform.
"This action shows the incredible flexibility and combat power that the MEU and Navy-Marine Corps team bring to the fight." - 22nd MEU Commanding Officer, Col. Todd Simmons
"This deployment and this operation has been a vivid illustration of the impressive capabilities of the ARG/MEU team. From the remarkable amount of ordnance expended from aircraft flown off Wasp's deck during the first 2 1/2 months of OOL to the groundbreaking airstrike efforts taking place from the deck of the San Antonio, the Wasp ARG has been very busy. As we've proven, this ARG/MEU team is a flexible and lethal force that will continue to operate effectively across both the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation." - Commander, Amphibious Squadron 6, Capt. F. Byron Ogden
"Conducting strike operations in support of OOL highlights the versatility of the amphibious transport dock ship. San Antonio, being the first of her class, has been at the leading edge of the Navy's development of LPDs. Now we are making full use of this amazing ship with the 22nd MEU's Air Combat Element carrying out precision air strike operations off of our flight deck." - USS San Antonio Commanding Officer, Capt. Darren Nelson
The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) elements, elements of which are embarked on San Antonio, are conducting precision strike operations against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets in Sirte, Libya. San Antonio's Sailors and Marines are maintaining all organic capabilities of the LPD-class ship, while simultaneously providing air support to the Government of National Accord (GNA)-aligned forces fighting to retake Sirte from the grasp of ISIL.
San Antonio completed a relief in place (RIP) with Wasp Oct. 23. Wasp had been conducting precision strikes in support of OOL since Aug. 1.
Approximately 2,500 Marines and Sailors with the 22nd MEU departed Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in June to deploy to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation with the Wasp ARG. The MEU serves as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious missions across the full range of military operations.
San Antonio is deployed as part of the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. Commander, Amphibious Squadron 6 commands the Wasp ARG, which consists of Wasp, San Antonio, and amphibious dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island.