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Bataan ARG, 26th MEU(SOC) Return from 8-month Deployment

21 March 2024

From Chief Mass Communication Specialist Eva-Marie Ramsaran, Amphibious Squadron 8 Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Virginia - More than 4,000 Sailors and Marines assigned to the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (MEU(SOC)) returned to Hampton Roads following an eight and a half-month deployment to the U.S. 2nd, 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operations, March 21.

More than 4,000 Sailors and Marines assigned to the Bataan ARG supported a wide range of interoperability opportunities and exercises, increasing combat readiness and crisis response capabilities while strengthening relationships with NATO Allies and partners.
The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), assigned to the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), returns to Naval Station Norfolk following an eight and a half-month deployment operating in the U.S. 5th and U.S. 6th Fleet areas of operation, March 21, 2024. More than 4,000 Sailors and Marines assigned to the Bataan ARG supported a wide range of interoperability opportunities and exercises, increasing combat readiness and crisis response capabilities while strengthening relationships with NATO Allies and partners. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anderson W. Branch)
More than 4,000 Sailors and Marines assigned to the Bataan ARG supported a wide range of interoperability opportunities and exercises, increasing combat readiness and crisis response capabilities while strengthening relationships with NATO Allies and partners.
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The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), assigned to the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), returns to Naval Station Norfolk following an eight and a half-month deployment operating in the U.S. 5th and U.S. 6th Fleet areas of operation, March 21, 2024. More than 4,000 Sailors and Marines assigned to the Bataan ARG supported a wide range of interoperability opportunities and exercises, increasing combat readiness and crisis response capabilities while strengthening relationships with NATO Allies and partners. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anderson W. Branch)
Photo By: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anderson Branch
VIRIN: 240321-N-KK394-1202

Two of the ARG ships, the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) and Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), returned to Naval Station Norfolk and Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia.

“It is great to be home,” said Amphibious Squadron (CPR) 8 Commodore, Capt. Martin Robertson. “I'm proud of the Sailors and Marines of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group who return home today knowing that for eight and a half months, they were the nation's rapid response force.”

The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) is expected to return to Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, in the coming days. Most of the Marines assigned to the 26th MEU(SOC) departed the ARG ships and returned to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina earlier this week.

More than 4,000 Sailors and Marines assigned to the Bataan ARG supported a wide range of interoperability opportunities and exercises, increasing combat readiness and crisis response capabilities while strengthening relationships with NATO Allies and partners.
The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), assigned to the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), returns to Naval Station Norfolk following an eight and a half-month deployment operating in the U.S. 5th and U.S. 6th Fleet areas of operation, March 21, 2024. More than 4,000 Sailors and Marines assigned to the Bataan ARG supported a wide range of interoperability opportunities and exercises, increasing combat readiness and crisis response capabilities while strengthening relationships with NATO Allies and partners. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anderson W. Branch)
More than 4,000 Sailors and Marines assigned to the Bataan ARG supported a wide range of interoperability opportunities and exercises, increasing combat readiness and crisis response capabilities while strengthening relationships with NATO Allies and partners.
240321-N-KK394-1258
The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), assigned to the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), returns to Naval Station Norfolk following an eight and a half-month deployment operating in the U.S. 5th and U.S. 6th Fleet areas of operation, March 21, 2024. More than 4,000 Sailors and Marines assigned to the Bataan ARG supported a wide range of interoperability opportunities and exercises, increasing combat readiness and crisis response capabilities while strengthening relationships with NATO Allies and partners. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anderson W. Branch)
Photo By: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anderson Branch
VIRIN: 240321-N-KK394-1258

While in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operations, the Bataan ARG and 26th MEU(SOC) team supported a wide range of interoperability opportunities and exercises across the North Atlantic, Eastern Mediterranean, Baltic region, Red Sea and Arabian Gulf, increasing combat readiness and crisis response capabilities while strengthening relationships with both Allies and partners.

“These young men and women were called into action from the start to help stop the spread of wildfires in Southern Europe, to deter Iran from seizing U.S.-flagged merchant vessels in the Middle East, and they reacted swiftly at the onset of the crisis in the Bab-El Mandeb to ensure merchant shipping access to the Red Sea,” Robertson said. “Your sons and daughters stood ready to assist American citizens in countries impacted by the Israel-Hamas conflict, and their efforts directly prevented the conflict from expanding to other nations in the region. Simultaneously, we operated close to Russia in the high north and Baltic regions, reinforcing America's commitment to the NATO alliance, emphasizing the importance of regional peace and security. Thank you to our families and friends. Your love and support made all our successes possible.”

In July 2023, following the wildfires in Greece, the Bataan ARG disaggregated, with Mesa Verde remaining in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations supporting Allies and partners through various bilateral exercises and operations across the theater. Mesa Verde and the embarked Marines visited Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom. Additionally, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro visited Mesa Verde while the ship was in Dublin, Ireland, for the U.S. Naval Academy versus University of Notre Dame football game, Aug. 26, 2023.

More than 4,000 Sailors and Marines assigned to the Bataan ARG supported a wide range of interoperability opportunities and exercises, increasing combat readiness and crisis response capabilities while strengthening relationships with NATO Allies and partners.
Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Adam Huggins, assigned to the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), greets his family as Bataan returns to Naval Station Norfolk following an eight and a half-month deployment operating in the U.S. 5th and U.S. 6th Fleet areas of operation, March 21, 2024. More than 4,000 Sailors and Marines assigned to the Bataan ARG supported a wide range of interoperability opportunities and exercises, increasing combat readiness and crisis response capabilities while strengthening relationships with NATO Allies and partners. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anderson W. Branch)
More than 4,000 Sailors and Marines assigned to the Bataan ARG supported a wide range of interoperability opportunities and exercises, increasing combat readiness and crisis response capabilities while strengthening relationships with NATO Allies and partners.
240321-N-KK394-1342
Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Adam Huggins, assigned to the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), greets his family as Bataan returns to Naval Station Norfolk following an eight and a half-month deployment operating in the U.S. 5th and U.S. 6th Fleet areas of operation, March 21, 2024. More than 4,000 Sailors and Marines assigned to the Bataan ARG supported a wide range of interoperability opportunities and exercises, increasing combat readiness and crisis response capabilities while strengthening relationships with NATO Allies and partners. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anderson W. Branch)
Photo By: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anderson Branch
VIRIN: 240321-N-KK394-1342

Bataan and Carter Hall transited the Suez Canal and operated in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations for more than four months, ensuring the free flow of navigation and regional stability. Following the outbreak of conflict between Israel and Hamas, both ships participated in Operation Prosperity Guardian in the Red Sea to deter further escalation and protect open sea lanes.

“It's been a challenging deployment, but we have accomplished a lot, and I am extremely proud of the hard work and resilience of every member of the Bataan team,” said Capt. Paul Burkhart, Bataan’s commanding officer. “Throughout the past eight months, we have really shown what it means to be 'Bataan tough.' We were able to showcase our amphibious capabilities throughout three Navy fleets, deter aggression through our presence and were able to create and share countless memories that will last a lifetime.”

Notable visitors to the Bataan and Carter Hall included commanders and staff of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, U.S. 6th Fleet, U.S 5th Fleet, U.S. Central Command, Task Force 61/2, Task Force 51/5, French, Italian and Turkish navies, along with distinguished guests from the Kingdom of Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and U.K.

The ARG/MEU presence overseas supported strategic interests and contributed to regional security and stability and reassured U.S. commitment to multiple regions. The blue-green team provided operational flexibility to combatant commanders by providing a versatile contingency response force using sea, air, land and logistical assets. The versatility inherent to the amphibious force allowed for flexible and mission-tailored forces, while representing our nation’s strength, capability and resolve to partners and Allies and deterring potential adversaries.

“History has proven the necessity of having forward-deployed Marines, embarked aboard amphibious ships. Over the past eight months, the Marines and Sailors of the 26th MEU(SOC) have showcased the value, utility and unique all-domain operational capabilities you only find in a marine expeditionary unit,” said Col. Dennis Sampson, commanding officer of the 26th MEU(SOC). “When coupled together, the ARG and the MEU(SOC) form a flexible naval expeditionary force capable of reassuring our Allies and partners of our commitment to maritime security and capable of dominating within the littorals against any adversary in any clime or place.”

The Bataan ARG is comprised of the Bataan, Mesa Verde, and Carter Hall. Embarked commands include CPR 8, Fleet Surgical Team 8, Tactical Air Control Squadron 21, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26, Assault Craft Unit 4, Beach Master Unit 2 and the 26th MEU(SOC).

The 26th MEU(SOC) consists of the Command Element; Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 (Reinforced); Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team 1/6; and Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22.

For more information, please contact Amphibious Squadron 8 Public Affairs Team, CPR8PAO@lhd5.navy.mil.

  
 

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