Makin Island group returns to San Diego from deployment - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Makin Island group returns to San Diego from deployment

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The three ships of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group returned to Naval Base San Diego Monday from a seven-month deployment to the Pacific, Middle East and Horn of Africa.

The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset and amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock carried members of the Camp Pendleton-based 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit during the deployment. The Somerset completed its maiden voyage.

The sailors and Marines trained with allied forces from Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, Djibouti and Oman, according to the Navy.

"The Makin Island ARG/11th MEU team provided our commanders with the world's most capable sea-based rapid-response force," said Capt. Mike Crary, the group's commander.

"Our ships and the landing force they carried gave our commanders the operational flexibility they needed to respond to a range of crises, anywhere in theater, in a moment's notice," Crary said. "After seven months of operations, I'm still impressed by this team's capabilities. They have performed superbly together - a testament to their professionalism and dedication - and I couldn't have asked to serve with a more motivated group of sailors and Marines.''

Mark Melson, the Makin Island's commanding officer, said his crew should be proud of what they accomplished.

"Throughout deployment, our sailors and Marines worked night and day to stay at the top of their game, ready to answer the call,'' Melson said.

"They're the reason we were always in the right place at the right time, ready to put Marines ashore to perform a wide range of missions," he said. "This team can hang their hats on a job well done, and now it's time to focus on being back home and reuniting with our families and loved ones."

The Makin Island is named for a Pacific atoll where a World War II battle took place. The Comstock is named for a mining site near Virginia City, Nevada. The Somerset is named for the Pennsylvania county where a United Airlines jet crashed on Sept. 11, 2001.

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