The Secretary of Defense ordered the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Aug. 30, to remain in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) until the beginning of October.
This represents a 21 day extension to the ARG/MEU’s deployment schedule. Bataan ARG includes USS Bataan (LHD 5), USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), and USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44).
The Bataan ARG and 22nd MEU are being extended to assure a continuous ARG/MEU physical presence in the Arabian Gulf and uninterrupted support for potential tasking. This extension provides time for USS Bataan’s relief, USS Makin Island and the embarked 11th MEU, to arrive on station for a “face-to-face” turnover before Bataan departs for her homeport of Norfolk, Virginia.
The Bataan ARG/22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit entered the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR March 13.
The U.S. 5th Fleet AOR encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, North Arabian Sea, and the Red Sea. The expanse comprises 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.