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NEWS | July 29, 2023

USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19) and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (SOC) Arrives in the U.K.

By Amphibious Squadron 8 Public Affairs and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) Communication Strategy & Operations

The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19), assigned to the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (MEU(SOC)) arrived in Plymouth, U.K. for a regularly scheduled port visit, July 28.

During the visit, Sailors and Marines will have a chance to experience the rich culture of the area through morale welfare and recreation tours to popular cultural and historical landmarks around the city. This port visit marks the first stop for the USS Mesa Verde while deployed in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe (NAVEUR) area of operations.

"The Sailors and Marines of the USS Mesa Verde and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) are looking forward to our first port call in Plymouth, U.K. as we work to reinforce our strategic relationship between the U.S. and NATO allies," said Capt. Marc Davis, commanding officer, USS Mesa Verde.

Bataan and Mesa Verde deployed from Norfolk, Virginia on July 10 along with Harper’s Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Carter Hall as part of the Bataan ARG.

“The Marines and Sailors of the 26th MEU(SOC) are excited to be at sea for the start of our deployment and are thankful to be welcomed to Plymouth to further our long-standing partnership with our close friends and allies,” said Lt Col. Josef H. Wiese, Executive Officer of the 26th MEU(SOC), Commander of Troops aboard the USS Mesa Verde. “Over the last seven months we have successfully demonstrated our proficiency and competency in all MEU MAGTF missions and warfighting in preparation for our deployment within 6th Fleet and 5th Fleet area of operations. This is the first opportunity the Marines on the Mesa Verde will have to visit the U.K. and experience its rich culture before we begin training with our allies and partners in the region.”

As founding members of NATO, the United States and the United Kingdom share a commitment to preserving the safety and security of the NATO Alliance that spans more than 70 years.

The port visits highlight the United States and England’s strong relationship and shared values, enabling enduring engagement and training that supports regional stability and security.

NAVEUR and the Royal Navy share a proud maritime partnership and defense cooperation focused on promoting security, stability and prosperity across NATO territories. The U.S. and the U.K. share a commitment to upholding and advancing the rules-based international system.

The NATO alliance is vital to European security and also to U.S. national interests. NATO allies and partners take every opportunity to train together to refine tactics, techniques, and procedures to increase our interoperability.

The Bataan ARG consists of the of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), San amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), and dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50). Embarked commands include Commander, 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 (SOC).

The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) (Special Operations Capable) (MEU(SOC)) is a task-organized Special Operations Capable Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF), with all-domain operational capabilities, consisting of a Ground Combat Element (GCE), Air Combat Element (ACE), Logistics Combat Element (LCE), a USMC/SOCOM MEU/SOF Liaison Element (SOFLE), and a Maritime Special Purpose Force (MSPF) centered around the Command Element’s Force Reconnaissance Company.

The Bataan ARG and embarked 26th MEU (SOC), under the tactical command and control of Task Force 61/2, is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations, employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., allied and partner interests.

For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.