Bataan Strike Group Returns to 2nd Fleet

Thursday, June 28, 2007
Amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) pulls out of the Naval Station Rota Harbor. Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group conducted a port visit to Rota after conducting maritime operations in support of the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nathan Schaeffer

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Brian Anderson, USS Bataan Public Affairs

The multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) and elements of the Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) successfully entered the U.S. 2nd Fleet area of operations (AOO) on June 26, as the group sailed west across the Atlantic Ocean. Bataan ESG stayed busy in the 6th Fleet AOO for approximately three weeks before making the trip toward home. As the flagship of the ESG, Bataan accomplished both internal unit level goals and assignments from the fleet commander during that time.

One of the major unit level accomplishments was Unit Level Training Assessment-Sustainment, an evaluation of the ship’s training proficiency. “It was a strong performance across the board,” said Cmdr. Mark Scovill, Bataan’s executive officer. “It gives us some things to think about and some things to train for as we get ready for our next deployment.” After the three-day assessment, Bataan and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) supported the visit of the Secretary of Defense to France for Normandy remembrance ceremonies. A few days later, Bataan helped provide security for the President's visit to Albania.

“We stayed busy,” said Cmdr. Jon Carriglitto, Bataan’s operations officer. “Based on the comments from 6th Fleet, they were very appreciative of our support in the operation.” As the ships headed west, elements of the ESG visited Naval Station Rota, Spain, for a wash down of Marine vehicles and equipment, and a chance to experience the last liberty port of the deployment. The ESG Sailors are now looking forward to getting home.

“Our focus now is the safe off-load of the MEU, a safe transit with the Tiger Cruise and return to home port,” said Carriglitto. With the finish line in sight, the focus will remain on safety. “We will have a safe transit by doing the same thing we have done all deployment,” said Carriglitto. “That is, maintaining our focus and conducting risk management at all levels. ORM [operational risk management] has become part of our DNA.” Bataan, commanded by Capt. Rick Snyder, left her homeport of Norfolk, Jan. 4, on a regularly scheduled deployment as the flagship of the Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group, which is comprised of the Bataan Strike Group, commanded by Capt. Pete Fanta, commander, Bataan Strike Group/Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 2, and the 26th MEU, commanded by Marine 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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