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Bataan, Coalition Forces Demonstrate Amphibious Arsenal

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS091016-22
Release Date: 10/16/2009 3:08:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Stephen Oleksiak, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

USS BATAAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), embarked aboard ships of the USS Bataan (LHD 5) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), joined coalition forces to conduct an amphibious assault demonstration Oct. 12 near Alexandria, Egypt, as part of exercise Bright Star 2009.

The assault displayed how well the United States and our foreign allies can work together to accomplish the mission.

"The purpose was to show that we are a great force," said Boatswain's Mate 1st Class (SW) Christopher Hernandez, from Beach Master Unit (BMU) 2. "This shows that we have the ability to join forces with other countries to get the job done."

Bataan ARG's Navy and Marine Corps team showcased its vast capability during the demonstration, including MV-22B Ospreys and AV-8B Harriers from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 263 and Landing Craft Utilities (LCU) and Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCAC) from Assault Craft Units (ACU) 2 and 4.

"All the platforms that we have in the Marine Air Ground Task Force and the amphibious squadron were used today," said Maj. Timothy Davis, the 22nd MEU assistant operations officer. "Our coalition partners from Pakistan, Kuwait and Egypt were essential to the mission as well."

Coordination among U.S. and coalition partners ensured the demonstration went off without a hitch.

"This was a complex, combined surface, amphibious and flight operation, culminating in the amphibious assault demonstration," said Lt. Cmdr. Joe Parker, the assistant air operations officer for Amphibious Squadron 2, the command and control element of the Bataan ARG. "The Bataan ARG served as the supporting platform for the MEU's amphibious assault capability. Today's demonstration was expertly executed and is a reflection of the professionals involved and the great planning that preceded the operation."

Bright Star 2009 is a multinational exercise that was established in 1981 and is designed to improve readiness, interoperability and strengthen military and professional relationships among U.S., Egyptian and several other coalition forces. Bright Star is conducted by U.S. Central Command and held every two years.

Bataan ARG, commanded by Capt. Jack L. Sotherland, is composed of the multipurpose amphibious assault ship Bataan, the amphibious transport dock USS Ponce (LPD 15), the amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 6, ACU 2, ACU 4 and BMU 2.

The 22nd MEU, led by Col. Gareth F. Brandl, is a scalable, multipurpose force of more than 2,200 Marines and Sailors. The unit is composed of its Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; and the 22nd MEU Command Element.

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusnc/.



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