GULF OF ADEN — Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Group (MEU) were relieved of their duties in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) by the Makin Island ARG and the 11th MEU, Jan. 6.
The Bataan ARG deployed March 23, 2011 and since then has conducted maritime security operations, theater security cooperation actions, and joint military exercises with regional partners in both 5th and 6th fleet AORs.
"I am extremely proud of these outstanding Sailors and Marines and their dedication to mission and sustained support during these past several months," said Capt. Steve Yoder, commander, COMPHIBRON Six. "Regardless of the task assigned, they performed all duties with great professionalism, pride, and integrity."
Following the turnover, Bataan ARG will depart the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR and return to their respective homeports of Norfolk and Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek - Fort Story, Va.
"This has been an epic deployment," said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Eric Steidl, commanding officer, 22nd MEU. "Not just in terms of duration, but for flexibility and adaptability the amphibious forces provide the combatant commander."
"The Sailors and embarked Marines of USS Bataan have worked hard during this deployment, which will be ten-and-a-half months long by the time we get home," said Capt. Erik M. Ross, commanding officer, USS Bataan. "After such a long and challenging at-sea period, it's good to know we're getting relieved by the exceptional Sailors, Marines and ships of the Makin Island ARG and 11th MEU."
This is the maiden deployment for USS Makin Island (LHD 8), the Navy's newest amphibious assault ship and the only U.S. Navy ship with a hybrid electric propulsion system.
"Since departing San Diego, our Navy and Marine Corps team in the Makin Island ARG has been executing a critical role in facilitating international maritime security cooperation," said Capt. Humberto L. Quintanilla II, PHIBRON 5 commander. "We have completed multiple ground centric theater security cooperation exercises from the sea with our regional partners in Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore prior to arriving in the 5th Fleet."
Embarked on the Makin Island ARG, the 11th Marine Expeditionary Units major subordinate elements consist of Battalion Landing Team 3/1, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268 (Reinforced) and Combat Logistics Battalion 11.
"We take the guideon from the Bataan ARG and 22nd MEU, ready to assume the watch as a forward deployed Marine air-ground task force," said Col. Michael Hudson, 11th MEU's commanding officer. "We wish our friends fair winds and following seas as they head home after a very successful deployment.
The Bataan ARG includes PHIBRON 6, with detachments from Naval Beach Group Two (CNBG) 2, Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 21, Fleet Surgical Team Six (FST) 8, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28 det 2, Beach Master Unit (BMU) 2, Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 2 and ACU 4. ARG ships include the Norfolk-based Bataan, amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), and 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, and Combat Logistics Battalion 22.
The Makin Island ARG includes PHIBRON 5, with detachments from TACRON 11, FST 5, HSC 23, BMU 1, ACU 1 and ACU 5. ARG ships include San Diego-based amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52).
The 11th MEU is a Marine Air Ground Task Force comprised of the Command Element, Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment; Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 11.