USS ESSEX, At Sea --
Vice Adm. Scott H. Swift, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, visited Marines and Sailors aboard USS Essex (LHD 2), Sept. 29.
During his visit, Swift was given a full tour of the ship and spoke with Navy Capt. Dave Fluker, commanding officer of the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), and Col. Andrew MacMannis, commanding officer, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), along with multiple other members of the ship and MEU command.
Upon completing his tour, Swift spoke to Marines and Sailors during an all hands formation and touched on the further integration and cooperation between the Navy and Marine Corps team that has made the 31st MEU so successful.
“There is no one else in the world that can do it,” said Swift. “This means there’s no one else in the world that has the capability, or capacity to do the things that we do as a Navy and Marine team.”
Swift went on to tell a story of an exercise that took place in Jordan, where in a matter of two hours, Marines and Sailors were able to get over 1,500 Marines from ship to shore. To the Jordanian general that was present for the exercise, it was astounding to see because the Marines and Sailors accomplished in two hours what would have taken the Jordanians two weeks.
“Whether you’re talking about war fighting capabilities, or humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations, that’s a significant capability to have,” said Swift.
As the vice admiral’s speech came to an end, Swift reminded all of the Marines and Sailors aboard of their importance. He also went on to thank those present for their service and dedication.
The 31st MEU provides a forward-deployed, flexible sea-based force capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response and limited contingency operations in the Asia-Pacific area. The 31st MEU is the only continually forward-deployed MEU, and remains the nation’s force-in-readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.