The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge, (LHD 3), flagship of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), with the embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), arrived in Helsinki, Finland for a scheduled port visit, August 5, 2022.
The ARG-MEU is operating in the Baltic Sea to strengthen relationships with NATO allies and partners while conducting combined training and theater-security cooperation engagements. This marks the first time the ARG-MEU has fully aggregated in the Baltic during their current deployment.
“After a successful mid-deployment voyage repair (MDVR) and ‘crew reset’ period in Brest, France, Kearsarge is looking forward to continuing operations in the Baltic region, re-constituting all three ships of the ARG together, and exercising with the Finnish military,” said Capt. Tom Foster, USS Kearsarge commanding officer. “This visit continues to demonstrate our commitment to security and stability in the region and provides a great opportunity for our Sailors and Marines to experience the rich culture of Finland.”
Kearsarge and the embarked 22nd MEU will conduct bi-lateral training events with the Finnish military, and Sailors and Marines will be able to explore the city of Helsinki through Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) planned tours and engagements.
The Kearsarge ARG and 22nd MEU are under the command and control of Task Force 61/2. The ARG consists of Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3); San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24); and Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44).
While Kearsarge docks in Helsinki, Arlington will conduct a port visit to Stockholm, Sweden, while Gunston Hall calls on Tallinn, Estonia. These port visits demonstrate the United States’ commitment to working with key NATO allied and partner nations to preserve security and stability in the Baltic Sea region.
Embarked commands with the Kearsarge ARG include Amphibious Squadron SIX, 22nd MEU, Fleet Surgical Team 2, Fleet Surgical Team 4, Tactical Air Control Squadron 22, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28, Assault Craft Unit 2, Assault Craft Unit 4, Naval Beach Group 2, and Beach Master Unit 2.
Amphibious ready groups and larger amphibious task forces provide military commanders a wide range of flexible capabilities including maritime security operations, expeditionary power projection, strike operations, forward naval presence, crisis response, sea control, deterrence, counter-terrorism, information operations, security cooperation and counter-proliferation, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.