More than 4,000 sailors and Marines with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group departed from Norfolk, Va., Saturday on an eight-month scheduled deployment toward the Mediterranean Sea and Middle East.
The ready group includes the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan, the amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde, and the amphibious dock-landing ship USS Gunston Hall, with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked. Navy officials say the units provide the Navy with a versatile sea-based force that can conduct a variety of missions, including a quick-reaction crisis response.
The deployment is part of a regular rotation of forces to provide a crisis-response capability, and to support maritime security operations and a forward naval presence in the 6th Fleet and 5th Fleet area of responsibility, the Navy said in a news release.
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 region. It recently completed five weeks of combined carrier operations with a French Navy Task Force that included the FS Charles de Gaulle.