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Bataan Amphibious Ready Group transits Suez Canal, begins journey home

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Posted at 2:55 PM, Oct 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-03 14:56:57-04
 The guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt and the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan steam through the Arabian Gulf during a photo exercise. (Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Michael Fiorillo)

The guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt and the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan steam through the Arabian Gulf during a photo exercise. (Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Michael Fiorillo)

The ships of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) transited the Suez Canal on Thursday, marking the beginning of their journey homeward.

The multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan, the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde, and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall left Hampton Roads on February 8th.

While tasked to U.S. 5th Fleet, the Air Combat Element of the 22nd MEU executed strike missions against ISIS in Iraq, and non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (NTISR) flights over Iraq and Syria. Additionally, the Bataan ARG/MEU successfully completed two rescues at sea, a number of support operations and participated in the first days of exercise Eager Lion.

The Bataan ARG/MEU are expected to return to Norfolk in late October.

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“The Sailors and Marines of the Bataan ARG and 22nd MEU have worked hard over the last eight months and proven everyday they can handle our nation’s call,” said Bataan Commanding Officer Capt. George J. Vassilakis. “In 6th Fleet, we’ll maintain our obligation to our mission, and prepare to bring these mighty warships back home safely.”

The Bataan ARG and 22nd MEU have been relieved by the Makin Island ARG and the 11th MEU in the 5th Fleet area of operation.

While in 6th Fleet, the Bataan ARG/MEU presence will strengthen regional maritime partnerships by conducting international exercises and making routine port visits.

The Bataan ARG/MEU is one of six permanent and rotational ARG/MEUs operating around the globe.