5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS, Feb. 14, 2020 — The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) on Feb. 12 completed passage through the Strait of Hormuz, entering the Arabian Gulf from the Gulf of Oman.
“In a typical week, more than 500 ships sail through the Strait of Hormuz, representing a steady flow of maritime traffic crucial to the vitality of the nations in this region,” said Capt. Lance Lesher, commodore of the ARG. “Our passage through this important strait and continued presence in the area plays a critical role in maintaining the freedom of navigation key to regional security and stability here.”
The Bataan ARG also includes the amphibious transport dock USS New York (LPD 21) and the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51). Also traveling with the ARG through the strait were the guided missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) and dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12).
“Bataan’s transit of the Strait of Hormuz supports stability and security essential to maritime commerce,” said Capt. Greg Leland, commanding officer of Bataan. “Our continued commitment to our partner nations lends to the strength of nations here in the Gulf and elsewhere in the region.”
The MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force composed of approximately 2,500 Marines and Sailors supported by three major subordinate elements with the ability to provide agility in a dynamic security environment.
Those subordinate elements include the Ground Combat Element, the Aviation Combat Element and the Logistics Combat Element.
The Bataan ARG and 26th MEU are operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, with about 2.5 million square miles of water, including the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse includes 20 nations and three critical choke points for global commerce, at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.
Also embarked with the ARG are elements of Naval Beach Group 2, Tactical Air Control Squadron 22, Fleet Surgical Team 4, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28 and the staff of Amphibious Squadron 8.
The Bataan ARG and 26 MEU are deployed to the U.S. 5 Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners and preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the region.