Sailors and Marines man the rails as the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan
(LHD 5) departs Naval Station Norfolk. Bataan is the command ship for the Bataan Expeditionary Strike group (ESG), which is deploying to conduct maritime security operations in support of the ongoing rotation of forward-deployed forces. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Lolita Lewis
The Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) entered U.S. 6th Fleet’s area of operations Jan. 10 in support of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe’s initiative to strengthen emerging and enduring partnerships with the nations and navies of Greece, France, Morocco, Italy, Spain, Turkey and Malta.
While in theater, approximately 6,000 U.S. Sailors and Marines assigned to the ships, submarine and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit provide the combatant commander a versatile sea-based force that can be tailored to a variety of missions. The Bataan ESG has the capabilities to support maritime security operations, combat operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
“Our top mission while in the U.S. 6th Fleet is theater security cooperation engagements, which we execute with some exciting port visits,” said Capt. Donna Looney, Commander, Bataan Strike Group/Amphibious Squadron TWO. “We’re looking forward to successful visits that reinforce our long-standing friendships with the nations we will visit and strengthen our relationships with them. The Sailors and Marines of the ESG will be our best ambassadors, and they are looking forward to this opportunity to see this part of the world.”
USS Bataan (LHD 5), commanded by Capt. David Hulse, left her homeport of Norfolk, Va., Jan. 4, on a regularly-scheduled deployment as the flagship of the Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG), which is comprised of the Bataan Strike Group, commanded by Commodore Donna Looney, Commander, Bataan Strike Group/Amphibious Squadron TWO, and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., commanded by Col. Gregg Sturdevant. Bataan Strike Group includes Amphibious Squadron Two, 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).
By Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Joanne De Vera