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Bataan Ready Group arrives in 6th Fleet AOR

NAPLES, Italy — An amphibious group led by the assault ship USS Bataan entered European waters on Sunday with an embarked unit of Marines as part of a scheduled deployment to the Mediterranean Sea and Middle East, according to the Navy.

The group will participate in maritime security operations and be available for emergency and humanitarian response while in the Navy 6th Fleet waters, which stretch across the north Atlantic and include the Mediterranean, a Navy release stated. The group will transit to the 5th Fleet area of responsibility at an unspecified date. The 5th Fleet AOR includes the Arabian Gulf, the Red Sea, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean, as well as the Suez Canal and the Strait of Hormuz.

The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group also includes the amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde and the amphibious dock-landing ship USS Gunston Hall, with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked. The group, which counts roughly 4,000 sailors and Marines, departed Norfolk, Va., earlier this month for the eight-month deployment.

Currently, the USS Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, with 1,800 sailors and 2,400 embarked Marines from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, has the watch in the Middle East. The San Diego-based group left its home port in August and arrived in the Middle East in October, when it relieved the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group.

The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is also in the Middle East near the Persian Gulf. The George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group departed Norfolk on Sunday for a nine-month deployment to 6th and 5th fleet waters.

beardsley.steven@stripes.com

Twitter: @sjbeardsley

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