NORFOLK (NNS) -- More than 4,000 Sailors and Marines from the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (24 MEU) departed from Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Feb. 25 and March 1.
The deployment is part of a regular rotation of forces to support maritime security operations, provide crisis response capability, and increase theater security cooperation while providing a forward naval presence in Europe and the Middle East.
The Bataan ARG is commanded by Capt. Larry LeGree, commodore, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 8 and is comprised of amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), Tactical Air Control Squadron 21, and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 26, homeported at Naval Station Norfolk; amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), Assault Craft Unit 4 detachments, and Beach Master Unit 2, homeported at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia Beach.
Mesa Verde and Carter Hall departed Feb. 25, and the rest of the Bataan ARG departed March 1.
"After months of training, this Navy and Marine Corps team have come together and are a very capable amphibious force," said LeGree. "It's all about teamwork and maximizing the tremendous capabilities of our forces to provide the fleet commanders with scalable, ready, and resilient forces."
The 24 MEU consists of more than 2,200 Marines, which also includes a Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365 (Reinforced), and Combat Logistics Battalion 24 and the MEU command element. The 24 MEU spent 26 weeks training in mission areas such as security operations, humanitarian relief, and amphibious raids.
The Bataan ARG/MEU team will provide combatant commanders a versatile sea-based force which can be tailored to a variety of missions, including quick reaction crisis response options on sea, shore, and land in support of the nation's maritime strategy.
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