Tuesday, June 23, 2009

USS Bataan Transits Suez Canal, Enters 5th Fleet

ADRIATIC SEA (June 10, 2009) The sun sets on a day of at-sea operations aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5). Bataan is on a scheduled deployment performing maritime security operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Tony Sisti.)

Focus on Defense:

USS BATAAN, At Sea, June 23, 2009 -- Sailors aboard the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) and embarked Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (22nd MEU) transited the Suez Canal June 20, and entered the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations relieving the USS Boxer Amphibious Group.

While deployed to the region, Bataan will conduct Maritime Security Operations, which help set the conditions for security and promote regional stability and global prosperity.

"The focus is maritime security, but regardless of the mission, we stand ready," said Capt. Sam Howard, Bataan's commanding officer. "Our training leading up to deployment and the inherent capability of Bataan's blue/green team, provides the combatant commander with a versatile force that's able to respond to tasking at a moment's notice."

Bataan serves as the flagship for the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group/ 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (ARG/MEU). The 22nd MEU is comprised of a Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; and the MEU Command Element.

Bataan is also the first ship to deploy with embarked MV-22B Ospreys in an amphibious environment. Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 263, with a complement of 10 Ospreys, provides increased flexibility over the CH-46E Sea Knight and CH-46D Sea Stallion in their ability to transfer equipment and troops from ship to shore. The Osprey brings greater range, lift capacity, speeds and the ability conduct aerial refueling.

Amphibious Squadron Two (PHIBRON 2) includes Bataan, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 42), the amphibious transport dock USS Ponce (LPD 15), Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 6, Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 2, ACU-4 and Beachmaster Unit (BMU) 2.

Bataan is the fifth ship of the Navy's Wasp-class ships. She was commissioned Sept. 20, 1997, and is the second U.S. Navy warship to bear the name. CVL-29 was an Independence-class light aircraft carrier that was commissioned in November 1943. After serving in both World War II and the Korean conflict, CVL-29 was decommissioned in 1954.

(Report from a USS Bataan Public Affairs news release.)

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