The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group and Essex Amphibious Ready Group with the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit are now drilling in the South China Sea.
Images released by the U.S Navy show carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), landing helicopter dock USS Essex (LHD-2), amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD-52), cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG-57), destroyer USS Michael Murphy ( DDG-112), dry cargo ship USNS Alan Shephard (T-AKE-3) and replenishment ship USNS John Ericsson (T-AO-194) sailing in the South China Sea on Thursday.
The Essex ARG was initially comprised of Essex, Pearl Harbor and amphibious transport dock USS Portland (LPD-27), but it appears that Portland has since detached from the group following the ARG’s departure from the Middle East in early January. Destroyers USS O’Kane (DDG-77) and Michael Murphy then joined the ARG in the Indian Ocean. Both destroyers deployed as part of the Carl Vinson CSG in August, but are operating with the Essex ARG.