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Amphibious Squadron Six

Embarked in USS NASSAU (LHA-4), PHIBRON SIX deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and participated in Operations Deny Flight and Provide Promise in support of the U.S. role in the Balkans conflict.

The USS Bataan Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG), scheduled to deploy in early September 1999, did not return to Norfolk after evading Hurricane Floyd. Instead, USS Bataan (LHD 5), USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41), USS Shreveport (LPD 12), and Amphibious Squadron Six headed south to Moorehead City, N.C. to onload the 22nd Expeditionary Unit prior to departing for the Mediterranean.

A tactical amphibious squadron's organization is unique. Ships are assigned periodically to one of the tactical squadrons for specific operations or for temporary administrative purposes. The squadron staff functions for the commander in the operational readiness of each ship. The amphibious squadron commander with his staff is charged with responsibilities for planning and executing amphibious operations and deployments with a reinforced Marine Battalion. The amphibious squadron staff is capable of planning and executing amphibious assaults at the Marine Expeditionary Unit level with augmenting detachments from a Tactical Air Control Squadron, Naval Beach Group, Special Warfare Group, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team, and Fleet Surgical Team. Additionally it serves as Naval Forces Commander in various Joint Task Force Operations. and Fleet Surgical Team. Additionally it serves as Naval Forces Commander in various Joint Task Force Operations. Amphibious Ready Groups from the Naval Surface Force, U. S. Atlantic Fleet normally deploy to the Mediterranean. However, other regions in the Atlantic Fleet area of responsibility are often included. The Amphibious Ready Group's capabilities range from providing medical supplies, personnel and food for evacuation in the event of natural disaster, to landing combat ready Marines ashore.

MARG 1-95 - Marine/Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group (MARG)/Landing Force 6th Fleet (LF6F) 1-95 was relieved in the US Sixth Fleet on 04 April 1995 after 154 days on station. They served as the Forward Deployed Crisis Response Team in the Mediterranean. The MARG 1-95 consisted of USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), USS Ponce (LPD 15) and USS Nassau (LHA 4), flagship of Commodore Alan L. Heisig, Commander Amphibious Squadron 6. They were teamed with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) (Special Operations Capable), commanded by Colonel M. Wayne Forbush. The Marine air ground task force elements included Battalion Landing Team 1/6 formed around 1st Battalion, Sixth Marines, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 (Reinforced) and MEU Service Support Group 22. After turning over to USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Amphibious Ready Group and 24th MEU (SOC), MARG 1-95 set course for their home port of Norfolk and Little Creek, VA, after landing the Marines at their homes in Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River, NC. On 23 November 1994, while inport Toulon, France, Gunston Hall was ordered to depart in less than two days time with the Nassau Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group in support of possible search and rescue missions in the Adriatic Sea. The Marines of the 22nd MEU had to return immediately from training in southeastern France. The Nassau Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) set sail from Toulon France on November 25 after receiving short fused tasking to sail to the Adriatic.

Nassau (LHA 4) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) -- More than 13,000 Sailors and Marines departed their homeports and bases 25 November 1996 for a six-month overseas deployment as part of the Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group (CVBG) and USS Nassau Amphibious Ready Group (ARG). The naval forces included the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt with its eight tactical aircraft squadrons, the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau, 12 additional ships and two submarines, and more than 2,000 Marines from the 2nd Expeditionary Unit (MEU). USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVBG) and USS Nassau (LHA 4) ARG replaced USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Battle Group and USS Saipan (LHA 2) ARG, which had been forward deployed to a variety of regions for five months, including the Mediterranean Sea, the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Bosnia, the Persian Gulf and also off the coast of Liberia. During preparations for deployment the USS Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group and USS Nassau ARG participated in the Joint Task Force Exercise 97-1 (JTF-EX) along with other units from the Navy and all other branches of the armed forces. With the focus on communication, the training exercise was designed to enhance the carrier battle group's capability to perform with other military services. Units deploying with Nassau were USS Nashville (LPD 13), USS Pensacola (LSD 38), Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC) 6 Detachment 6 and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

USS Wasp (LHD 1) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Carrier Battle Group (CVBG) participated in Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 98-1 from 12 January through 04 February 1998. The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit was embarked aboard ships of the Wasp ARG. Ships of the Wasp ARG included USS Trenton (LPD 14) and USS Portland (LSD 37). The John C. Stennis CVBG and Wasp ARG departed for a scheduled six-month deployment on 26 February 1998, and the JTFEX served as the final certification on their readiness to deploy. The John C. Stennis CVBG and the Wasp ARG relieved the USS George Washington (CVN 73) CVBG and USS Guam (LPH 9) ARG, who had been forward deployed during the past five months to regions including the Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian Gulf. During the deployment Wasp served as the flagship for Commander, Amphibious Squadron SIX. Dynamic Response `98 was the first operation Wasp conducted during its deployment. While in the Adriatic, the ARG operated as part of the Strategic Reserve Force with the Stabilization Force (SFOR) in the Balkans. SFOR's mission is to help the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina maintain peace in the region. In June, Wasp and Portland returned to the Adriatic for Operation Determined Falcon when conflict embroiled the Balkans. Less than 24 hours after arriving off the coast of Albania, the embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) launched Harrier jets to join more than 80 other NATO aircraft flying over Albania and Macedonia. While deployed, the Wasp ARG participated in numerous other NATO exercises, including Alexander the Great off the coast of Greece and Destined Glory `98 off the coast of southern Spain. The USS Wasp (LHD 1) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) returned to Virginia home ports 28 July 1998. Wasp and USS Trenton (LPD 14) returned to Naval Station Norfolk, and USS Portland (LSD 37) returned to Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, VA.

MARG 98-2 - Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group (MARG) 98-2 -- USS Wasp, along with USS Portland (LSD 37) and USS Trenton (LPD 14), deployed as part of Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group (MARG) 98-2 through the summer of 1998. Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group (MARG) 98-2 participated in Destined Glory, a NATO-led exercise off the coast of Spain. As Marines from the 26 Marine Expeditionary Unit Special Operations Capable (26 MEU SOC) went ashore for training, Sailors on board continued their work. For the first time in history, a US Navy amphibious ship entered the port of Ploce, Croatia, to participate in the exercise Dynamic Response 98. As part of Mediterranean amphibious ready group (MARG 98-2), both Trenton and USS Portland (LSD-37) entered the port and offloaded their respective contingents of the embarked Marine Expeditionary Unit Special Operations Capable (MEU SOC) landing force. A third ship, USS Wasp (LHD-1), was anchored off the coast conducting LCAC operations in support of the off-load. The Marines and material from the three amphibious ships formed a large part of NATO's Strategic Reserve Force (SRF), whose purpose was to augment SFOR in Bosnia, should the need arise. With the landing force ashore, Trenton returned to the Adriatic where she continued to support Marines ashore through heliborne logistics.

Bataan (LHD 5) Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG) left homeport of Norfolk, VA on 15 September 1999. Bataan left on a six-month deployment a few days early in order to evade Hurricanes Floyd and Gert. The ships of the Bataan Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG) were initially scheduled to deploy 17 September. After spending some time in the Atlantic doing hurricane evasion, Bataan picked up the 22 MEU at Onslow Bay off the coast of North Carolina. Bataan ARG ships, including USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) and USS Shreveport (LPD 12) proceeded early to relieve the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) ARG in the Mediterranean operational area. Throughout the deployment, the Bataan ARG with the 22nd MEU served as the Strategic Reserve Force for the Balkans and supported regional security through presence operations in the Adriatic Sea. USS Bataan (LHD 5) and USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) returned to Hampton Roads 15 March 2000, following their two-day offload of Marines and equipment from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit/Special Operations Capable (MEU/SOC) in North Carolina.

MARG 2-01 - As of December 2000 it was planned that USS Ponce (LPD-15) would be underway from 25 April 2001 to 17 October 2001 as part of the MARG 2-01 Deployment.

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