The multipurpose amphibious assault ship, USS Bataan (LHD 5), departed her homeport Jan. 4 as the flagship of the Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) for a regularly scheduled six-month deployment.
The deployment marks the first time Bataan has deployed overseas since 2004. The Bataan ESG deployed to conduct maritime security operations in support of the ongoing rotation of forward-deployed forces.
“Together with the Marines, the Bataan ESG is an ample force to show presence, agility and mobility,” said Capt. Donna Looney, Bataan Strike Group commander. “Our job during the deployment will be to respond to whatever the nation needs and the training we’ve done has prepared us.”
The list of exercises and certifications the crew completed last year includes ESG Integration Exercise (ESGINT), Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), and Certification Exercise (CERTEX).
“We have been training for months leading up to this deployment, and I know our Sailors are ready to go,” said Capt. David Hulse, Bataan’s commanding officer.
Family members and friends were on the pier to bid teary-eyed farewells and express their pride to their Sailors and Marines.
“It seemed like deployment came quickly since our son, Leo, was born less than five months ago,” said the wife of Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class (AW) Jacob Wiley of Bataan’s V-4 Division. “I’m sad to see him go, but I’m very proud of my husband and everyone else aboard Bataan.”
Rear Adm. Garry Hall, commander, ESG 2 also made a quick visit to the ship to give a message to the crew.
“I just wanted to say how proud I am, and how proud the Navy is of each and every one of you,” said Hall in a message to the crew. “You are sailing into a seam of history and sailing to show the world how great our nation and Navy are.”
Bataan is the flagship of the Bataan ESG, which is comprised of the Bataan Strike Group and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). The Bataan Strike Group includes Amphibious Squadron 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). The 26th MEU is based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., and is commanded by Col. Gregg Sturdevant.
By Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Joanne De Vera, USS Bataan Public