Wednesday, May 31, 2023

For the second time this year the Navy sends a Carrier Strike Group to perform HA/DR instead of a Marine Expeditionary Unit. Is this the new normal? Is the Marine Corps out of the HA/DR game?

 via USNI News

Aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and its escorts are operating off the coast of Guam awaiting the call to assist in disaster relief ashore, two Navy officials told USNI News.

Last week, Nimitz was dispatched to aid civil authorities if requested in a defense support of civil authorities (DSCA) after Super Typhoon Mawar passed near Guam with 140 miles per hour and waves up to 30 feet high, according to the National Weather Service.

There’s been widespread destruction across the island, including power and water outages across the U.S. territory that’s home to 150,000. The territory’s leadership has formally petitioned the Biden administration for federal assistance.

Until civil authorities formally request aid, the carrier is assisting by providing communication assistance to the island, according to a Navy official.

It’s the worst typhoon to hit Guam since Typhoon Pongsona made landfall in 2002.

“Most of Guam is dealing with a major mess that’s going to take weeks to clean up,” Landon Aydlett, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said last week.

The strike group deployed on Dec. 3 and has been operating in the Western Pacific since Dec. 16th, according to the USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker.

Nimitz deployed with Carrier Air Wing 17 embarked, guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG-52), guided-missile destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG-108), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93), USS Decatur (DDG-73) and USS Paul Hamilton (DDG-60). It’s unclear which of the strike group’s escorts are operating nearby.

Meanwhile, USS Makin Island (LHD-8) and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and are headed east toward the West Coast, officials confirmed to USNI News. The Pentagon had considered also dispatching the Makin Island ARG top support potential humanitarian relief operations on Guam, but has elected instead to send the ARG closer to the U.S.

There are just two possibilities in my mind to explain this and both are bad.

1.  The DoD and US Navy has decided that the CSG is a better platform to conduct HA/DR.  Additionally the Marine Corps leadership has signaled that this is one of those missions that they no longer want to perform or...

2.  The ARG/MEU is incapable of operating in heavy seas churned up by the typhoon that struck the island and are being moved closer to the USA to safeguard those ships.

Either way the Marine Corps has once again been proven impotent and no longer able to carry out legacy/real world missions that are MUCH MORE LIKELY than full scale combat in the Pacific against the Chinese. 

That one foe, one region mindset that has been foisted on the Marine Corps by the outgoing and probably incoming Commandants is gonna be the end of the Marine Corps.

I mean seriously what good is the Marine Corps if its only good for the big fight against the Chinese?  Imagine if the US Army during the cold war said "fuck the rest of the world, we're only focused on the Fulda Gap".

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