January 2nd, 2007 11:08 EST
The US Navy PHIBGRU 2 Becomes ESG 2
NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Commander, Amphibious Group (CPG) 2 was disestablished Dec. 31, and commissioned as Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2, culminating nearly a year of preparation to become an operational command ready to deploy to the Middle East.
CPG 2 provided valuable insight and training during two exercises this past year for the establishment of an expeditionary platform that will take the command from an administrative position at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va., to a fully operational command based in Bahrain in February.
CPG2 was an administrative staff that trained, manned and equipped our expeditionary forces on the Atlantic coast, " said Rear Adm. Garry Hall, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 2. Our new role is more operational, and these exercises gave us an insight into how to plan and conduct operations at the joint task force level. "
The new Expeditionary Strike Group 2 will conduct all amphibious and expeditionary operations in the Gulf region from Bahrain.
Hall, and several members of his staff, embarked aboard USS Bataan (LHD 5) in November as a deployable command element while the Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) conducted its Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
We embarked Bataan to show our ability to command and control and reach back to my staff in Little Creek, Va., " said Hall. Our visit to Bataan proves the concept that we can scale our staff, deploy and join the MEU and amphibious squadron to command from at-sea. "
Our forces can expect to be used in a very flexible and efficient manner as we support land forces ashore and as we engage in the theater, " said Hall. Any time an ESG, an amphibious squadron or a MEU deploys, they are used in a multitude of events. They should expect the unexpected and be prepared for any mission to come their way. "
Capt. Mike Barea, head of the Expeditionary Interdirectorate, believes that training for the deployment will extend beyond this exercise as the Navy tests its new overseas assets.
This upcoming deployment is basically an experiment for the Navy, and I think the lessons that we learn will give the Navy some important information on preserving critical mission areas, " said Barea. There are a few issues that need to be ironed out, but we do know that it is an experiment, and we`re going to learn from it with regard to appropriate manning and the importance of focusing on what`s critical to the mission."
CPG 2 tasked USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) with assisting in the evacuation of thousands of American citizens from Lebanon this past summer. The Iwo Jima ESG falls under the command of CPG 2, displaying the flexibility and quick-acting logistical support that the Amphibious Navy has to offer.
Previously deployed ESGs have conducted emergency disaster relief operations in the U.S. Gulf Coast region after Hurricane Katrina, and in Pakistan and Indonesia to aid with earthquake and tsunami relief.
By Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 2 Public Affairs Office