US and Saudi Forces Conduct Joint Military Exercises on Saudi Islands

The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) operates in the Arabian Gulf, May 6, 2020. Bataan is the flagship for the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and, with embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific Ocean through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Lyle Wilkie/Released)

The U.S. and Saudi forces are conducting routine and joint sustainment training on and around Karan and Kurayn islands, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, May 24-30, 2020.

The second phase of the training follows the successful completion of the training on April 20-22, and provides the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BATARG) with the embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) an opportunity to continue mission-essential training and planning with our Saudi partners.

“We appreciate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia allowing the BATARG and 26th MEU another training opportunity on these islands,” said Col. Trevor Hall, commanding officer of the 26th MEU. “Being able to train on these islands allows our team to expand upon our previous training by adding capabilities and assets from our partners in the region. The ability to plan and operate with other forces supports our ability to rapidly deploy aviation, maritime, and ground combat elements – all from over the horizon – at a moment’s notice in order to support maritime security, freedom of navigation, and the free flow of commerce.”

In close coordination with our Saudi partners, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) Task Force (TF) 52 and TF 56, the BATARG and 26th MEU are conducting well deck operations, underwater beach surveys, maritime patrolling, boat lane security operations, and will establish a forward arming and refueling point for aviation assets to refuel in an austere environment – which increases the aviation combat radius and enables them to conduct follow-on operations.

“These islands in the Arabian Gulf provide our Navy-Marine Corps team an ideal setting to prepare for a wide range of operations, while exercising seamless integration with our highly qualified partners,” said Capt. Lance Lesher, commodore of Amphibious Squadron 8. “This return training on Karan and Kurayn islands allows us to exercise our full mission readiness as a premier crisis-response option for our nation, as we also work alongside our Saudi partners for security and stability in the region.”

ARG/MEUs operate continuously across the globe and provide the geographic combatant commanders with a forward-deployed, flexible and responsive sea-based Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). The blue-green team is fully capable of conducting operations across a full spectrum of conventional, unconventional and hybrid warfare.

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