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San Diego-Based Marine Aircraft Attack ISIS Targets

Photo caption: A U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier appears in this undated photo.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

A U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier appears in this undated photo.

U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers flying from the San Diego-based amphibious assault ship USS Boxer attacked Islamic State targets in the Middle East today, the Navy announced.

The Harriers — known for vertical takeoffs and landings — joined planes from the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman, making it the first time that naval aviators from warships in two different bodies of water have flown missions in Operation Inherent Resolve, the Navy said.

"These missions from the flight decks of USS Boxer, like those from the USS Harry S. Truman, demonstrate the inherent flexibility of naval forces," said Vice Adm. Kevin Donegan, the head of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.

"Today, U.S. naval forces are striking ISIL simultaneously from both the Mediterranean and the Arabian Gulf," Donegan said, using a common acronym for the Islamic State. "Of course the engine of this effort is our nation's sailors and Marines serving with the USS Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit — they, together with our joint and coalition partners, are dismantling and rolling back terrorist networks in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere."

The Navy didn't specify the targets that were hit. However, U.S. airstrikes have been supporting Iraqi security forces as they push into the city of Fallujah to retake it from ISIS forces.

The Boxer ARG, which deployed from San Diego in February, also includes the amphibious transport dock USS New Orleans and amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry. Before arriving in the Persian Gulf, the sailors and Marines took part in an exercise near the Korean Peninsula and maintained the Navy's presence in Southeast Asia.

The Harriers aboard the Boxer are from San Diego-based Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166, the aviation segment of the 13th MEU.

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