NORFOLK -- More than 4,000 Sailors and Marines from the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BATARG) and 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) departed from Naval Station Norfolk for an eight-month deployment Feb. 8.
While deployed, the BATARG/22MEU will serve in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR).
The deployment is part of a regular rotation of forces to support maritime security operations, provide crisis response capability, and increase theater security cooperation and forward naval presence in the U.S Navy's 5th and 6th Fleet AOR.
BATARG is commanded by Capt. Neil A. Karnes, commodore, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 6, and is comprised of multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), and amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) homeported at Naval Station Norfolk.
"The Sailors and Marines of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BATARG) have excelled in training and qualifications; and are more than ready to answer the Nation's call across a very wide range of mission sets to be executed around the globe," Karnes said. "America's sons and daughters are the heart and soul of the BATARG and I am extremely proud of their accomplishments, dedication, and enthusiasm. They make it happen every single day. It's a great Navy Marine Corps Team."
The 22nd MEU is commanded by Col. William R. Dunn and comprises a ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment; aviation combat element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); logistics combat element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; and its command element.
The BATARG/22 MEU team will provide combatant commanders a versatile sea-based, expeditionary force that can be tailored to a variety of missions, including quick reaction crisis response options in maritime, littoral and inland environments in support of the nation's maritime strategy.