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Bataan Amphibious Ready Group
LHD-5 Bataan
"Big 5"

BATAAN (LHD-5) is the fifth ship to be christened into the WASP (LHD-1) Class of U.S. Navy Multipurpose Amphibious Assault Ships, being built for the United States Navy by Ingalls Shipbuilding division of Litton in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Ingalls is a major designer and builder of surface combatant ships for the U.S. Navy and allied nations. Lead shipbuilder for five of the newest classes of Navy surface combatants, Ingalls has delivered 71 major surface warships into the Navy's Fleet since 1975, a major portion of the surface combatants delivered during the period.

Litton Industries, Ingalls' parent corporation, is a leader in worldwide technology markets for advanced electronic and defense systems. Five additional Litton divisions produced equipment and systems being installed aboard BATAAN.

The new class is the sixth amphibious assault ship program in which Ingalls has been involved since the early 1950s. These ships include the five vessels of the TARAWA (LHA-1) Class, which were delivered to the Navy by Ingalls from 1976 to 1980.

The principal mission of WASP Class ships is to enable the Navy/Marine Corps team to accomplish a seamless transition from the sea to a land battle, primarily as the command ship of an Amphibious Ready Group. LHDs are specifically designed to lay off a troubled area of the world, and insert forces ashore by helicopters and 50 m.p.h. LCAC hover craft. The assault forces are provided combat air support by embarked AV-8B Harrier II V/STOL "jump-jets". One ship of the current class, USS KEARSARGE (LHD-3), served as the base ship for the successful rescue of Air Force Captain Scott O'Grady from Serbian-held territory in Bosnia.

In its role of commanding an Amphibious Ready Group, an LHD is fully capable of amphibious assault, advance force and special purpose operations, as well as non-combatant evacuation and other humanitarian missions. Additionally, the ships are fully-equipped with command and control (C41) systems for flagship command duty; and have medical facilities -- including a 600 bed hospital -- second only to the Navy's Hospital Ships in capability.

LHD-5 is the Navy's first amphibious assault ship designed and built from the keel up with accommodations for female sailors. This "Women at Sea" modification provides LHD-5 with living areas for nearly 450 female officers, chiefs, enlisted personnel and embarked troops. Overall, the ship has living areas for nearly 3,200 crew members and troops.

In carrying out its primary mission, BATAAN will transport and land ashore not only troops, but also the tanks, trucks and other vehicles, artillery, ammunition, and complete supplies necessary to fully support the assault.

The assault support system aboard ship coordinates horizontal and vertical movement of troops, cargo and vehicles. Monorail trains, moving at speeds up to 600-feet-per-minute, transport cargo and supplies from storage and staging areas throughout the ship to a 13,600-square foot well deck, which opens to the sea through huge gates in the ship's stern. There, the cargo, as well as troops and vehicles, are loaded aboard landing craft for transit to the beach. The LCAC air cushion landing craft can "fly" out of the dry well deck, or the well deck can be ballasted down for conventional craft to float out on their way to the beach.

Simultaneously, helicopters are brought from the hangar deck to the flight deck by two deck-edge elevators, and loaded with supplies from three massive cargo elevators.

LHD-5's armament system includes the NATO Sea Sparrow Surface Missile System (NSSMS) for antiair warfare protection, two Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Systems and two Phalanx Close-in Weapon System (CIWS) mounts to counter threats from low flying aircraft and close-in small craft. Six missile decoy launchers augment LHD-5's antiship missile defenses.

LHD-5 is 844 feet long, with a 106 foot beam. Two steam propulsion plants, developing a combined 70,000 horsepower, will drive the 40,500-ton ship to speeds in excess of 20 knots.

LHD-5's construction began with hundreds of smaller subassemblies, in which piping sections, ventilation ducting and other shipboard hardware, as well as major machinery items, such as main propulsion equipment, generators, and electrical panels were installed. The preoutfitted subassemblies were then joined with others to form assemblies which were welded together to form five completed hull and superstructure modules.

These five giant ship modules, each weighing thousands of tons, were joined together on land to form the completed ship's hull prior to launch. The result of this early outfitting and modular construction was a ship 74 percent complete at launch.

The ship's launching was just as innovative as her construction. LHD-5 was rolled from her construction area to Ingalls' floating drydock for launch on a rail transfer system. The drydock was then positioned over a deep-water pit and ballasted down, allowing LHD-5 to float free.

LHD-5 will enter service with the U.S. Atlantic Fleet when commissioned in mid-1997. Captain Craig Wilson, USN, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, has been selected as LHD-5's Prospective Commanding Officer. Captain Wilson is a 1973 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Prior to his present assignment, he served as Executive Officer aboard the third Ingalls-built LHD, USS KEARSARGE (LHD-3).

From 20 Sep 1999 to 15 Mar 2000, Bataan conducted the first major overseas deployment. While operating in the Mediterranean the ship participated in Exercises Bright Star, Noble Shirley, and Infinite Moonlight.

In response to emergency sortie orders following the terrorist attack on New York and Washington, D.C., Bataan recalled her crew and was underway 11 hours after receipt of the sortie orders with 80 percent of her crew and ready to participate in Operation Noble Eagle.

From 14 Nov 2001 to 8 Mar 2002 Bataan participated in Operation Enduring Freedom. Bataan launched combat sorties into Afghanistan and sent troops to Kandahar in support of Combined Task Force 58.

Upcoming MED 06/07 Deployment

After six months of maintenance, restoration and upgrades, USS Bataan (LHD 5) got under way from Norfolk Shipyard and Drydock Corporation (NORSHIPCO) in downtown Norfolk, Va., Oct. 27, 2004, for two days of Sea Trials. After returning from a surge deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2004, Bataan went through an extensive six-month maintenance availability. Synthetic planking was installed in the well deck to replace wooden planking eroded from wear and tear of assault craft transiting in and out, and synthetic downcomers were installed to prevent rust. A new 12-year paint system was used on the hull and freeboard of Bataan, cutting back on Sailors' labor, saving money, and modernizing for the future.

This was the first time Bataan was dry-docked since the ship was commissioned in 1997. The dry-docking will contribute to the 40-year life expectancy of the ship. Bataan returned to Norfolk Naval Station and was, following this, working to obtain all the requisite certifications and qualifications to begin her training cycle in preparation for a future deployment.

In August of 2005, Bataan served as flagship during PANAMAX 2005 exercises with forces from Argentina, Chile, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama and Peru.

The multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) began service Aug. 30 as the Maritime Disaster Service Coordinator for the U.S. Navy's role in the Hurricane Katrina search and rescue efforts in the immediate New Orleans area. Embarked helicopter squadrons have moved over 200 stranded personnel in two days of flying. Crew members from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, based out of Naval Station Norfolk, and Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15, based out of Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, launched three MH-53 Sea Dragons and two MH-60 KnightHawks Aug. 30 and 31 to help out where needed.

The multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) completed its seventh day of Hurricane Katrina humanitarian relief efforts in the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast region Sept. 5. Four MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters from Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15, based out of Corpus Christi, Texas, five MH-60 Seahawks from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, based out of Norfolk, Va., and Bataan's air department have conducted flight operations almost around the clock to assist in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

To date, the two squadrons have transported 1,613 displaced people and delivered more than 100,000 pounds of cargo. Bataan also provided 8,000 gallons of fresh drinking water to the ravished Gulfport, Miss., area. Sailors filled eight 500-gallon water bladders with the ship's potable water and HM-15's MH-53 helicopters transported them from Bataan to shore. The ship also demonstrated its sea power when a landing craft unit from Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 2, based out of Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va., traveled up the Mississippi River to conduct a survey of the river just days after the hurricane ripped through the area. The LCU was gone for three days before returning to the ship's welldeck.

The multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) returned to her homeport of Naval Station Norfolk June 23, 2006 after spending more than five weeks underway in support of the Dutch-led exercise, "Joint Caribbean Lion 2006." U.S. forces focused on enhancing relationships with partner nations and improving operational readiness during the three-week exercise. Caribbean Lion provided an opportunity for the U.S. and other forces to operate in a multinational environment.

Bataan led U.S. Navy participation in the exercise, which also included USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) and USS Taylor (FFG 50), and joined military forces from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and Venezuela.

Chronology

    23 Jun 2006 - Returned to Norfolk
    20 Jun 2006 - Port Visit @ Mayport, Fla
    15-16 Jun 2006 - Port visit @ St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
    30 May 2006 - Caribbean Sea
    23 May -16 Jun 2006 - Joint Caribbean Lion 2006
    30 Aug - Sep 2005 - Hurricane Katrina Assistance
    19-21 Aug 2005 - Port visit, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles
    18 Aug 2005 - Caribbean Sea
    04 Aug 2005 - Port visit, Colon, Panama
    01 Aug 2005 - Caribbean Sea
    26 Jul 2005 - Port visit, Ingleside, TX
    20 Jul 2005 - Atlantic Ocean
    06 Jul 2005 - Atlantic Ocean
    29 Jun 2005 - Port visit, Boson, Mass.
    28 Jun 2005 - Atlantic Ocean
    09 Jun 2005 - Atlantic Ocean
    02 May 2005 - Atlantic Ocean
    25 Apr - 01 May 2005 - Fort Lauderdale, Fleet Week
    25 Apr 2005 - Port visit, Port Evergrlades, FL
    08 Apr 2005 - Atlantic Ocean - Completes FEP
    16 Nov 2004 - Atlantic Ocean
    27 Oct 2004 - Completes Yard Period
    26 Oct 2004 - Atlantic Ocean
    04 May 2004 - Begins Yard Period
    16 Apr 2004 - Norfolk
    15 Apr 2004 - Atlantic Ocean

Crest

Dark blue and gold on the shield are the traditional Navy colors and reflect the sea and excellence. Red denotes courage and sacrifice. White is for integrity. The seahorse represents USS BATAAN's natural association with the sea. The red path commemorates the Bataan Death March. The spears form a wedge underscoring amphibious assault and deployment of men and cargo ashore, as well as combat readiness, while highlighting the USS BATAAN's 12 battlestars. Bamboo alludes to the tropics and Pacific Theater where the first USS BATAAN served.

The wings on the crest represent the aviation heritage of the ship. The gold stars are for the seven battle stars earned in Korea, while the five points of the central star are for World War II Battle stars. The black mount suggests the mountainous terrain of Korea; the sun is adapted from the Seal of the Republic of the Philippines. Supporters ~ The swords represent the Navy - Marine Corps Team. Motto ~ "Courage, Commitment, Honor" are the Navy's core values.

Bataan Peninsula

LHD 5 commemorates the heroic defense of the Bataan Peninsula on the western side of Manila Bay in the Philippines, during the early days of World War II. On December 23, 1941, General Douglas MacArthur ordered his army withdrawn from Manila to the Bataan Peninsula, where Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Filipino Forces resisted an overwhelming enemy force for months, before surrendering in April 1942.

Two out of every three Americans who fought at Bataan failed to return home, having either died in battle, during the infamous "Bataan Death March" to captivity, or in prison camps.

CVL-29

LHD 5 is the second ship named to honor these World War II heroes. The first BATAAN was an aircraft carrier, CVL 29, launched on August 1, 1943, and commissioned on November 17, 1943. CVL 29 earned five battle stars for its World War II service in the Pacific, which included the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June 1944 and operations against the Japanese home islands, before being decommissioned in February 1947.

The ship was recommissioned in May 1950, and her aircraft flew missions throughout the Korean Conflict, including strikes in support of ground forces. For this duty, CVL 29 earned an additional seven battle stars, before being decommissioned again in April 1954.



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