ARABIAN GULF --- A U.S. Marine Corps F-35B from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), takes off from the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), on Jan. 3, 2019.
The Essex is the flagship for the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 13th MEU, 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 and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Since the first announcement of the F-35’s first combat mission in Afghanistan on Sept. 28, the US Navy has gone strangely silent on the F-35 aircraft based aboard the amphibious ship USS Essex.
From time to time, news items are posted indirectly providing some information. In the item above, for example, reveals that the ship is now operating in the Arabian (Persian) Gulf, whereas it was previously steaming in the Arabian Sea.
No further news on what its F-35Bs are doing, however, but there have been no reports of any combat missions since Sept. 28 – over three months ago.)