USS Bataan Launches, Recovers LCUs

Thursday, April 12, 2007
Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Michael Raines signals to the load master of a Landing Craft Utility (LCU) to raise the bow ramp prior to departure from the well deck of amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5). Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) is conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO) which help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ken J. Riley

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Justin Webster, USS Bataan Public Affairs

The crew aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) successfully conducted their first landing craft utility (LCU) operations in almost a year while underway in the Persian Gulf on April 7. The last time Bataan conducted LCU operations was in June during the Dutch-led exercise Joint Caribbean Lion, with French and Dutch Forces in the Caribbean Sea. Bataan launched her three landing craft air cushions (LCACs) to recover Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 2's LCU 1645, from USS Shreveport (LPD 12), which is a part of the Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG).

Bataan’s Deck Department used the experience to train its personnel. “The biggest challenge was dealing with personnel experience and new line handling techniques since it has been a while [since recovering an LCU],” said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class (SW) Benito Encinias, of Bataan’s Deck Department. “It was another step to make sure we are proficient in all areas.” The LCUs, built in the 1970s, are 135 feet long and have the capacity to support 11 crew members, 180 tons of equipment and 400 combat-ready Marines. Their mission is to transport troops and equipment ashore. An LCU also has the capability to sustain itself at sea for approximately seven days.

Bataan, commanded by Capt. Rick Snyder, left her homeport of Norfolk on Jan. 4 on a regularly scheduled deployment as the flagship of the Bataan ESG, which is comprised of the Bataan Strike Group, commanded by Capt. Donna Looney, Commander, Bataan Strike Group/Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 2, and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., commanded by Col. Gregg Sturdevant. Bataan Strike Group includes PHIBRON 2, Bataan, USS Shreveport (LPD 12), USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), USS Nitze (DDG 94), USS Underwood (FFG 36), and USS Scranton (SSN 756).

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