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Troubled Marine Corps ship finally deploys after breakdowns, investigations


Daily Caller News Foundation

A Marine Corps assault ship troubled for more than a year by delays, maintenance failures and investigations into shortcomings of the crew, set out on deployment orders Monday, according to U.S. Naval Institute News.

The USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship carrying fighter aircraft and Marines and the flagship of its designated combat unit known as an Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), set out from San Diego to join the the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit on Monday afternoon, USNI News reported, citing two defense officials. The Boxer was reportedly slated to deploy in late 2023 but did not become seaworthy until August amid command investigations, which discovered mismanagement and complacency among the ship’s engineering department and senior enlisted leaders.

Obstacles in training Marines on the amphibious combat vehicle, set to deploy on the Boxer ARG, also contributed to the delay, according to USNI News.

The Boxer was supposed to deploy in November, but that was delayed due to a requirement for “additional advanced training,” reported, citing officials speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Boxer last deployed in 2019 before undergoing a $200 million overhaul beginning in 2020. After the upgrades ended in 2022, the Boxer was stuck in port for still undisclosed reasons before putting to sea again in August, according to

Since then, the Boxer has put to sea every month except February since the fall of 2023, Boxer Commanding Officer Capt. Brian Holmes said in a March 20 press release. At the time it appeared that multiple engineering breakdowns were finally resolved and new leadership took over the vessel in September.

The other two vessels in the Boxer ARG have been operating in the Pacific on deployment orders without their lead vessel, according to USNI News.

The USS Somerset deployed in January and the USS Harpers Ferry in March, according to USNI News. Originally the military planned for the Harpers Ferry and Boxer to join the Somerset in the Western Pacific for a series of combined exercises with Thailand, officials told the outlet.

A video published by the Boxer’s social media team announced completion of at-sea integrated training exercises on Jan. 23, and they were completed on the 18th, the press release stated. Exercises spanned a “full spectrum of military operations,” including combat and humanitarian missions.

“The ship is expected to deploy soon,” spokesperson Cdr. Arlo Abrahamson told the Daily Caller News Foundation last week.

Investigations into three separate engineering failures “caused by a lack of procedural compliance, substandard supervisory oversight, and general complacency by the crew” took place between January and November 2023, the strike group commander, Rear Adm. Randall Peck, the commander, wrote in a report released to in March.

In one November 2022 incident, the Boxer experienced damage to two “forced draft blowers,” and a May 2023 lapse in boiler room safety “once again revealed a lack of procedural compliance and overall complacency of all personnel involved,” the investigation report. Then, in July 2023, the ship’s main reduction gears that transfer power to the propellers operated without lubrication.

Peck also indicted Capt. Holmes, then the ship’s executive officer prior to assuming command in September, for his culpability in the engineering team’s shortcomings.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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