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Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit prepare for a simulated air raid from the Philippine Sea aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex on Oct. 2, 2011. The Essex, commanded by Capt. David Fluker, is part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and is conducting operations in the Western Pacific.
Terry Matlock/U.S. Navy

Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit prepare for a simulated air raid from the Philippine Sea aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex on Oct. 2, 2011. The Essex, commanded by Capt. David Fluker, is part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and is conducting operations in the Western Pacific. Terry Matlock/U.S. Navy (Terry Matlock/U.S. Navy)

Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit prepare for a simulated air raid from the Philippine Sea aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex on Oct. 2, 2011. The Essex, commanded by Capt. David Fluker, is part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and is conducting operations in the Western Pacific.
Terry Matlock/U.S. Navy

Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit prepare for a simulated air raid from the Philippine Sea aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex on Oct. 2, 2011. The Essex, commanded by Capt. David Fluker, is part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and is conducting operations in the Western Pacific. Terry Matlock/U.S. Navy (Terry Matlock/U.S. Navy)

Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit prepare for a simulated air raid from the Philippine Sea aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex on Oct. 2, 2011. The Essex, commanded by Capt. David Fluker, is part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and is conducting operations in the Western Pacific.

Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit prepare for a simulated air raid from the Philippine Sea aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex on Oct. 2, 2011. The Essex, commanded by Capt. David Fluker, is part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and is conducting operations in the Western Pacific. (Terry Matlock/U.S. Navy)

Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit board a CH-46E Sea Knight for a simulated air raid from the Philippine Sea aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex on Oct. 2, 2011.

Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit board a CH-46E Sea Knight for a simulated air raid from the Philippine Sea aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex on Oct. 2, 2011. (Terry Matlock/U.S. Navy)

Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit board a CH-46E Sea Knight for a simulated air raid from the Philippine Sea aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex on Oct. 2, 2011.

Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit board a CH-46E Sea Knight for a simulated air raid from the Philippine Sea aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex on Oct. 2, 2011. (Terry Matlock/U.S. Navy)

A CH-46E Sea Knight from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 takes off from the flight deck of the forward deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex while operating in the Philippine Sea to take part in a simulated air raid on Oct. 2, 2011.

A CH-46E Sea Knight from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 takes off from the flight deck of the forward deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex while operating in the Philippine Sea to take part in a simulated air raid on Oct. 2, 2011. (Terry Matlock/U.S. Navy)

CH-46E Sea Knights from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 take off from the flight deck of the forward deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex, operating in the Philippine Sea, to take part in a simulated air raid Oct. 2, 2011.

CH-46E Sea Knights from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 take off from the flight deck of the forward deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex, operating in the Philippine Sea, to take part in a simulated air raid Oct. 2, 2011. (Terry Matlock/U.S. Navy)

The dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Matthew Perry conducts a replenishment at sea with the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex in the Philippine Sea on Oct. 3, 2011.

The dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Matthew Perry conducts a replenishment at sea with the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex in the Philippine Sea on Oct. 3, 2011. (Terry Matlock/U.S. Navy)

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Two weeks into its final fall patrol forward-deployed out of Sasebo, the USS Essex launched Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit in a simulated air raid from the Philippine Sea over the weekend.

The Essex Amphibious Ready Group departed Sasebo last month for a patrol of the western Pacific. The air raid is part of the ongoing amphibious integration training and certification exercise (CERTEX) the 31st MEU and the ready group are participating in.

The Essex, a Wasp-class multipurpose amphibious assault ship, will be leaving the small southwestern Japan base it has called home since July 2000 in early spring and will be replaced by its sister ship, the USS Bonhomme Richard, Navy officials have said.

The Essex is joined on the patrol by the amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown and the amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver. The 31st MEU hails from Okinawa.


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