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HMS Ocean Heads Across The Pond As Part Of The Auriga Task Group

HMS Ocean, the Royal Navy's largest ship, sailed for the United States this week as part of the UK Amphibious Task Group, led by Commodore Paul Bennett on board HMS Albion.  The Amphibious Task Group will join HMS Ark Royal and the UK Carrier Strike Group later this month and take part in Exercise Auriga, working alongside the US Navy and Marines.

The Auriga deployment consists of a series of training exercises that will build on the UK’s ability to conduct small scale intervention operations anywhere in the world, delivering amphibious forces ashore, supported by air power from the Joint Harrier force.  This is the second major amphibious exercise of the year.  In February the ship conducted Exercise Cold Response in the freezing fjords of northern Norway.

The Amphibious Task Group, comprising of HMS Ocean, together with HMS Albion and RFA Largs Bay, sailed with soldiers and marines from Bickleigh-based 42 Commando Royal Marines as well as elements of 29 Commando Royal Artillery, Stonehouse-based 30 Commando Royal Marines and personnel and helicopters from the Commando Helicopter Force, based at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton.  When the Task Group arrives in the USA it will join an impressive force of US warships including the USS Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and 26 Marine Expeditionary Unit – over 8000 US Navy personnel and marines. 

Captain Keith Blount Royal Navy, HMS Ocean's Commanding Officer, said:

"We have been working towards this for this for some time, both during Exercise Cold Response earlier this year and then during our own rigorous period of Sea Training in May. Auriga takes our amphibious capability a step further as well as providing the chance to integrate with our counterparts in the US Navy and Marine Corps.  Furthermore, by working with our own Carrier Strike Group, we will help demonstrate how the Royal Navy continues to provide a powerful and flexible maritime expeditionary capability for the UK across the globe, wherever it is needed”.

HMS Ocean will go on from Auriga to conduct a wide range of maritime security, engagement and capacity building roles within the UK’s standing Atlantic Patrol Task, and is expected to return to the UK in the late autumn.

10th Jun 2010

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