Marines: October 28, 2003


On October 24th, a U.S. Navy amphibious ship returned to its base at Norfolk, Virginia, and ended decades of marine "amphibious ready groups" being constantly at sea. In the past, when one "amphibious ready groups" returned to port, another departed for a six month cruise to nowhere in particular. These groups of amphibious ships often showed up off the coast of nations in trouble, and sometimes marines were sent ashore to protect American diplomats and U.S. citizens. But now the 1,800 sailors and 2,200 marines (and 20 helicopters and other aircraft, plus some armored vehicles) that serve in each of the dozen amphibious ready groups will spend most of their time in port. This will go over big with the families, as well as the sailors and marines. It will also be cheaper, as it costs over a million dollars a day to keep the amphibious ready group at sea. But most importantly, the amphibious ready group sitting in ports, or steaming around nearby for training, can rapidly be sent off to any trouble spot. The amphibious ready group will probably also go on longer training cruises, but mainly it will be "home".


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