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By U.S. Naval Forces Central Command
| September 17, 2023
230914-N-VO134-1319 ARABIAN GULF (Sept. 14, 2023) Distinguished visitors from Qatar and U.S. delegates tour the hangar bay of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) in the Arabian Gulf, Sept. 14. Components of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to help ensure maritime security and stability in the Middle East region. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Naomi Johnson)
The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) with the embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) hosted a delegation from Qatar, including the U.S. ambassador, at sea Sept. 14 for a day-long embark. The embark was an opportunity for the delegation meet Sailors and Marines deployed to the region and to better understand their capabilities.
The U.S. Ambassador to Qatar, the honorable Timothy Davis, and other guests, observed flight operations from Vulture’s Row; headed below decks to the Hangar Bay to talk with subject matter experts about Marine Corps aviation capabilities; visited the well deck for a walk-through of a landing craft, utility (LCU); and paid a visit to the ship's medical facilities.
He said the visit gave him a new appreciation for the forces working every day to maintain regional stability and the free flow of commerce in these vital waterways.
“The work these Sailors and Marines have been doing here is absolutely astounding,” he said. “The level of professionalism on display leaves no doubt they have the power to make a positive difference in the region.”
USS Bataan and the dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) arrived in the Middle East Aug. 6. Bataan ARG/26th MEU units bring to the region additional aviation and naval assets, as well as more U.S. Marines and Sailors, providing greater flexibility and maritime capability to U.S. 5th Fleet.
An amphibious assault ship can carry more than two dozen rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft, including MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and AV-8B Harrier attack jets in addition to several amphibious landing craft. A dock landing ship also supports operations for various rotary-wing aircraft, tactical vehicles and amphibious landing craft.
The Bataan ARG departed Norfolk, Virginia, on July 10 with Amphibious Squadron 8, Fleet Surgical Team 8, Tactical Air Control Squadron 21, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26, Assault Craft Unit 4, Beach Master Unit 2 and the 26th MEU.
The 26th MEU, based in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, is capable of conducting amphibious missions, crisis response and limited contingency operations to include enabling the introduction of follow-on forces and designated special operations.
The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses approximately 2.5 million square miles of water space and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, parts of the Indian Ocean and three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, Suez Canal and Strait of Bab al-Mandeb.