The Bataan Amphibious Readiness Group (BATARG), with embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), entered U.S. 6th Fleet’s area of operations, Feb. 16.
While in theater, approximately 4,000 U.S. Sailors and Marines assigned to the BATARG and 22nd MEU will serve in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) before transiting to the U.S. 5th Fleet. While on station, the BATARG and 22nd MEU will support theater security cooperation and provide a forward naval presence by providing crisis response, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and combat capabilities.
“The Sailors and Marines of the BATARG and the 22nd MEU have trained hard over the past year and have proven our team is ready to handle the task at hand,” said Bataan Commanding Officer, Capt. George Vassilakis. “We’re now ‘at the ready’ to answer our nation’s call.”
The BATARG is commanded by Capt. Neil A. Karnes, commodore, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) Six, and includes the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), and amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44).
USS Bataan (LHD 5) left her homeport in Norfolk, Va., Feb. 8, on a regularly scheduled deployment as the flagship of the Bataan Amphibious Readiness Group.
The 22nd MEU is commanded by Col. William R. Dunn and includes a ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment; an aviation combat element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 263 (Reinforced); a logistics combat element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; and its command element.
The BATARG and 22nd MEU team will provide combatant commanders a versatile sea-based, expeditionary force that can be tailored to a variety of missions, including quick reaction crisis response options in maritime, littoral and inland environments in support of the nation’s maritime strategy.
Press Release, February 19, 2014; Image: US Navy