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Bataan Amphibious Readiness Group and Embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit Operate In U.S. Sixth Fleet

By U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs | Jan. 1, 2020

The Bataan Amphibious Readiness Group (BATARG) and embarked 26thMarine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are conducting operations in 6th Fleet to support maritime security operations in international waters, alongside our allies and partners.

The distinct capability of amphibious forces provides the geographic combatant commander the ability to gain access to critical areas anywhere in the world with ground, air and logistics forces.  

The Bataan ARG embarks the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and includes the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), Fleet Surgical Team 4, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28, Tactical Air Control Squadron 22, components of Naval Beach Group 2 and the embarked staff of Amphibious Squadron 8. The 26th MEU is comprised of three major subordinate elements and a command element. The MEU’s major subordinate elements are Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment (BLT 2/8), Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 365 (Reinforced) and Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 26.

 “Our arrival into 6th Fleet exhibits our abiding commitment to our allies and partners throughout the region,” Col. Trevor Hall, commanding officer of the 26th MEU, said. “The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Bataan Amphibious Ready Group possess the unique ability to move seamlessly between operations at sea, ashore, and in the air. We provide commanders with a forward-deployed, flexible, and responsive sea-based Marine Air-Ground Task Force."

The MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force comprised of approximately 2,500 Marines and Sailors supported by three major subordinate elements with the ability to provide agility in a dynamic security environment.

The Ground Combat Element is built around an infantry battalion and provides the overland combat power for the MEU. Assets inherent within the standard infantry battalion include medium and heavy machine guns, mortars, combined anti-armor teams and scout snipers. While assigned to the MEU, a Battalion Landing Team is reinforced with light-armored reconnaissance vehicles, artillery, combat engineers and assault amphibious vehicles.

The Aviation Combat Element is a reinforced squadron that provides the MEU with a medium to heavy-lift capability, assault support and close-air support. Its assets include MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, CH-53E Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopters, AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters, UH-1Y Huey utility helicopters and AV-8B Harrier ground-attack aircraft. 

The Logistics Combat Element, approximately 300 Marines and Sailors, provides combat and logistical support such as supply, maintenance, ground transportation, explosive ordnance disposal, water production and distribution, engineering, medical and dental services, fuel storage and distribution, and other services to the forward-deployed MEU. 

The BATARG and 26th MEU’s presence in Europe and Africa and the relationships built over the past 70 years provides the U.S. strategic access that is critical to respond to threats against allies and partners.

“Our integrated Navy-Marine Corps team is trained, postured forward, and ready to support allies and our partners to ensure security and stability,” Capt. Lance Lesher, commodore for Amphibious Squadron 8, said. “We are worldwide deployable. Our efforts are the latest in a longstanding tradition of international cooperation built on mutual respect, trust and a shared commitment to peace and prosperity in any region. We are prepared to execute activities to include theater security cooperation, and crisis or contingency response up to and including combat operations as directed.”

During the BATARG and 26th MEU’s deployment, the blue-green team will continue to work with its allies and partners to ensure Europe and Africa ensure regional security. Participating in multinational exercises will enhance the professional relationships and improve overall coordination with ally and partner militaries.

The Bataan ARG last operated in the U.S. 6thFleet in 2017. Their return demonstrates the inherent flexibly and capability of our Navy-Marine Corps partnership in the maritime domain, reinforces our commitment to the region, and highlights the amphibious nature and capability of the U.S. Marine Corps.