Prior to the engagement with the USMC at sea, Maj. General Stephen M. Neary visited HMS Queen Elizabeth at its homeport of Portsmouth.
His visit presaged the historic USMC engagement onboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth.
According to a story by Staff Sgt. Brytani Musick published on August 27, 2020:
The commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa, Maj. Gen. Stephen M. Neary, visited Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth, United Kingdom, August 27, 2020.
During the visit, Neary met with the carrier’s leadership and toured the HMS Queen Elizabeth to increase understanding of the U.S. Marine Corps’ future operations with the UK Carrier Strike Group. U.S. Marines from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211, along with approximately six F-35B aircraft, will support the ship’s inaugural deployment in 2021. VMFA-211 will work alongside the UK’s 617 squadron as Carrier Strike Group-21.
“This deployment shows the true span of U.S. Marine Corps operations across the theater,” said Neary. “The U.S. Marine Corps has a longstanding special relationship with the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines, so having us operate from the Queen Elizabeth is another milestone in the relationship.”
Neary also visited the Commandant General of the Royal Marines, Maj. Gen. Matt Holmes. During their visit they discussed the importance of integrating the U.S. Marines and Royal Marines on this deployment and future partnership opportunities.
The upcoming deployment of U.S. Marine Corps F-35Bs aboard the QNLZ highlights the amphibious application of Joint Strike Fighters from a UK carrier. This deployment demonstrates that U.S. and UK allied forces are more than interoperable – they are integrated.
“U.S. Forces are postured throughout the European theater, ready to defend the NATO alliance and to deter adversary activities,” Neary added. “It’s not just about us working with one country in one place – it’s about this alliance working across the theater in innovative ways.”