US Navy amphibious group returns from seven-month tour in Middle East, Africa

USS Bataan (LHD 5) returns to homeport at Naval Station Norfolk. Photo: US Navy

Ships from the US Navy’s Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BAT ARG), together with 4,000 sailors and marines aboard, returned to Naval Station Norfolk and Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story on September 23 following a seven-month deployment.

The amphibious group consists of assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), Fleet Surgical Team 6, detachments from Assault Craft Unit 2 and 4, Beachmaster Unit 2, Tactical Air Control Squadron 21 and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26 Det. 1.

The BAT ARG and 24th MEU participated in bilateral and multilateral exercises including Spring Storm in Romania, Eager Lion in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Alligator Dagger in Djibouti. Each exercise provided an opportunity to work with partner nations, strengthening relationships across the globe.

To accomplish these missions the ARG traveled a total of 110,000 nautical miles, conducted more than 4,000 flight hours and completed 40 replenishments-at-sea during the course of the deployment.

“We are extremely proud of what our sailors and marines have accomplished during this deployment,” said Capt. Larry LeGree, commodore, PHIBRON-8.

“We are all ready to return home to our loved ones and looking forward to some well-deserved time off.”

While in the Middle East, the ARG/MEU (an integral component of Naval Amphibious Forces, Task Force 51 and 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade) also provided critical crisis response capabilities at sea, from the sea and ashore across the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command’s U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of responsibility.

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