The US Navy (USN) Expeditionary Sea Base USS Lewis B Puller (ESB 3) has embarked airborne mine countermeasures (AMCM) assets for the first time since the ship began operations with the US 5th Fleet.
MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter from Bahrain-based Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15 'Blackhawks' conducted AMCM capability development and interoperability training from the ship from 28 October to 7 November. According to Captain Scott Hattaway, Lewis B Puller 's commanding officer, "the entire equipment on-load to achieve full mission-capability and actively conducting AMCM operations was accomplished in less than three days pierside".
Lewis B Puller was commissioned in August 2017, replacing USS Ponce in the 5th Fleet area of operations. The ship provides Task Force 51, 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (TF51/5) with a forward-deployed platform that can be rapidly reconfigured to support a range of different missions, including special operations support, AMCM, counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, and humanitarian aid/disaster relief.
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