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Navy tests two-ship littoral combat group with South America deployment

Jan. 4 -- U.S. Navy personnel returned home after practicing a two-ship pairing exercise for future use by amphibious squadrons and ground troops.

The Navy last month deployed a new ship pairing of a destroyer and an amphibious transport dock to test a new concept that could serve as a formation in future operations.

"We safely and successfully conducted our mission," Capt. Ken Coleman, LCG-1 commodore, said in a press release. "I give full credit to our tremendous sailors and Marines. They demonstrated outstanding readiness, tactical expertise and represented our nation and Navy with great pride and professionalism."

The transporter USS Somerset, the destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer and Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Peru deployed together as Littoral Combat Group 1 in November and December. The exercise off the South American coincided with the ships' participation in ceremonies marking the bicentennial, in Valparaiso, Chile, of the Chilean Navy.

While at sea, the ships demonstrated delivering troops ashore, involvement with a Coast Guard law enforcement detachment and hosting a surgical team for humanitarian assistance work. One thousand Navy and Marine Corps personnel of the combat group also worked with the Peruvian Naval Infantry in a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise and conducted a maritime patrol exercise with the Ecuadorian navy assets to counter illegal fishing.

"The deployment of LCG-1 was designed to test a command and control concept," the 3rd Fleet told USNI News. "Wayne E. Meyer and Somerset were scheduled to participate in EXPONAVAL based on their operational schedules at the time, and LCG-1 provided command and control of those assets under a single commander. The complementary capabilities (brought by the) assigned Navy and Marine Corps units will inform future force development, both in how we organize our naval forces and how we employ them."

The USS Somerset returned to its home port of Naval Base San Diego, while the USS Wayne E. Meyer returned to Joint Base-Pearl Harbor Hickam.

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