4,500 sailors, Marines deploy with Boxer Amphibious group

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SAN DIEGO -- More than 4,500 sailors and Marines from the San Diego-based Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit left port Friday morning for the Western Pacific and Middle East.

The ARG consists of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer, amphibious transport dock USS New Orleans and amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry.

“The Boxer ARG, 13th MEU team has truly excelled in their preparation for deployment,'' said Capt. Keith Moore, commander of Amphibious Squadron One. “The sailors and Marines of the ARG/MEU team are well trained and ready to deploy in support of all missions.''

The sailors and Camp Pendleton-based Marines passed four major training exercises in preparation for heading to sea, the Navy said.

The “Wildcards'' of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23, based at Naval Air Station North Island, will supply three MH-60S Knighthawks and their crews for the deployment.

The USS Boxer is named after His Majesty's Brig Boxer, a British vessel captured off the coast of Maine in 1813 during the War of 1812. The USS New Orleans is named after the city in Louisiana and the War of 1812 battle that took place there.

The USS Harpers Ferry is named after a raid by abolitionist John Brown on an arsenal in 1859 in the run up to the Civil War. Many of the raiders were killed, and Brown was convicted and hanged.

The vessels last deployed in August 2013, returning the following April.