The dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) and Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) began Image Nautilus 2007 on Feb. 5 by successfully offloading the MEU and their supplies in Djibouti on the northeast coast of Africa.
The two-week operation, which also includes Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 4 and Beachmaster Unit (BMU) 2, allows the Sailors of Oak Hill and the embarked Marine assets the chance to work and train together.
Oak Hill successfully offloaded the MEU and many of their supplies to the beach, including M1A1 Abrams tanks, trucks and HMMVVs, with the assistance of two landing craft air cushions (LCACs) from ACU 4.
â€œThe amphibious projection of power from ship to shore is one of Oak Hillâ€™s primary missions,â€ said Cmdr. Ray Stapf, Oak Hillâ€™s commanding officer. â€œThe offload in Djibouti was successful due to the teamwork and dedication of the entire blue and green teams.â€
Following the offload, the MEU will continue Image Nautilus with a community service project and live-fire exercises. In addition, Oak Hillâ€™s boarding team is conducting training with boarding officers from the Djiboutian Coast Guard. This training will bolster the Djiboutian officersâ€™ capabilities to conduct maritime security operations (MSO) and will enhance U.S. relations with Djibouti.
Oak Hill is currently deployed as part of the USS Bataan Expeditionary
Strike Group (ESG), which is conducting MSO in support of the ongoing rotation of forward-deployed forces. MSO help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.
The Bataan ESG, commanded by Capt. Donna Looney, includes the 26th MEU based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., commanded by Col. Gregg Sturdevant, Amphibious Squadron 2, USS Bataan (LHD 5), Shreveport (LPD 12), USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), USS Nitze (DDG 94), USS Underwood (FFG 36), and USS Scranton (SSN 756).
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Nathan Bailey and Ensign Dan Rogers, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/ Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs