uss boxer (lhd 4)

Seagull’s view….

The bow of United States Navy Wasp-class amphibious assault shipUSS Boxer (LHD 4) looms in a view only seagulls….and an intrepid helicopter pilot or two….would ever see.

USS Boxer’s flight deck is lined with a full complement (up to 42 aircraft) of  V-22 Osprey  tiltrotor aircraft forward and aft….and CH-53 helicopters in between.

USS Boxer is not one of America’s 11 current aircraft carriers, but is one of a growing complement of what were once-called pocket (or escort) carriers….the 21st century versions capable of carrying numerous vertical and/or short take-off and landing (V/STOL) aircraft and large, heavy-lift helicopters.

In addition, these multi-function warships can transport almost the full strength of a United States Marine Corps Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU)….and land them in hostile territory via landing craft and/or helicopters. That’s 1,100 Marines and a full spectrum of landing craft, tanks, artillery, and all the other weaponry and supplies necessary to support them.

                                        _______________________

>>Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael T. Eckelbecker, USN

Marines, assigned to 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU), board a CH-53 Sea Stallion on the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) is underway off the coast of Southern California completing a certification exercise (CERTEX). CERTEX is the final evaluation of the 13th MEU and Boxer ARG prior to deployment and is intended to certify their readiness to conduct integrated missions across the full spectrum of military operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Debra Daco/Released)

An AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter pilot and weapons controller assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 (REIN) approach amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Boxer is conducting a composite training unit exercise preparing for a regularly scheduled deployment early next year. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel Barker/Released)

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Austin Moore directs an AV-8B Harrier II from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU) before it takes off from the flight deck aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Boxer is the flagship for the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 13th MEU, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Jeffries/Released)