USS BATAAN, Gulf of Aden
– Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) relieved Boxer ARG and 13th MEU in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), Aug. 13.
“The Sailors and Marines of Boxer ARG and 13th MEU have done a phenomenal job while in this AOR,” said Rear Adm. Margaret Klein, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 5. “Their ability to conduct sustained maritime security operations while simultaneously supporting numerous theater security cooperation events is a testament to their preparation for this deployment and is evidence of the value of the amphibious forces’ contributions to the maritime strategy.”
Since arriving on station, March 25, Boxer ARG and 13th MEU conducted maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts, including joint military exercises with regional partners. "This team has answered every call, with a selfless dedication to mission, professionalism and sustained support," said Capt. Curtis Shaub, commander, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 1. "From maritime security operations (MSO) to theater security cooperation (TSC) exercises, the PHIBRON 1/13th MEU team has produced magnificent results.”
Following the turnover, Boxer ARG will depart the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR and return to its homeport in San Diego.
“The Boxer ARG and 13th MEU have performed superbly,” said Capt. Steve Yoder, commander, PHIBRON 6. “As we assume the watch, we stand ready to continue this tradition of excellence. I have complete confidence in our Sailors’ and Marines’ ability to remain vigilant, flexible, and prepared to execute whatever mission we are called upon to perform.”
Bataan ARG and 22nd MEU deployed three months ahead of their original schedule to relieve the Kearsarge ARG and 26th MEU, which were operating in the U.S. 6th Fleet AOR. Once on station, Bataan ARG and 22nd MEU spent several months supporting the NATO-led mission in Libya, Operation Unified Protector, and conducting bi-lateral exercises and engagements with Sailors and Marines from Italy, Spain, Greece, France, and Romania.
“The versatility and utility of amphibious forces is remarkable. They possess tremendous capability and the freedom of maneuver needed to do our nation’s business,” said Col. Eric Steidl, commanding officer, 22nd MEU. “The BOXARG/13th MEU team did a fantastic job while on watch. We wish them well on their journey home and the BATARG/22nd MEU team will pick right up where they left off – poised and ready.”
COMPHIBRON 1 detachments include Fleet Surgical Team 3; Tactical Air Control Squadron 11; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23, Detachment 5; Assault Craft Unit 1, Detachment C; Assault Craft Unit 5, Detachment C and Beach Master Unit 1, Detachment E.
Boxer ARG includes San Diego-based amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20), and amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45).
The 13th MEU is a Marine Air Ground Task Force comprised of the Command Element, Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment; Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 13.
COMPHIBRON 6 detachments include Naval Beach Group Two (CNBG) 2, Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 21, Fleet Surgical Team Six (FST) 8, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, Beach Master Unit (BMU) 2, Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 2 and ACU-4.
Bataan ARG ships include Norfolk-based Bataan and amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), and the dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41), homeported at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek - Fort Story, Va.
The 22nd MEU is a Marine Air Ground Task Force comprised of the Command Element, Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22.