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NEWS | Feb. 8, 2024

Amphibious Ready Group Conducts Passing Exercise with Turkish Navy

By Amphibious Squadron 8 Public Affairs Team

The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) conducted a passing exercise (PASSEX) with Turkish frigates TCG Gemlik (F-492) and TCG Gaziantep (F-490) in the Mediterranean Sea, Feb. 6.

The PASSEX builds upon partnership capabilities using NATO operational and tactical procedures. PASSEXs are unit exercises requiring cooperation, communication and interoperability between two or more navies, testing advanced ship maneuvering and procedures. PASSEXs afford the opportunity for partner nations to develop a greater trust, understanding and respect for each other’s unique capabilities all while improving crews' knowledge and demonstrating shared strategies.

"It is a pleasure working with our Turkish allies and continuing to build upon a 70-year foundation of shared values and experiences," said Capt. Martin Robertson, commander, Amphibious Squadron 8. "Conducting operations with Turkish naval forces demonstrates America's commitment to our like-minded allies and supports the notion that we are far stronger and more capable to uphold free and open conditions at sea when we stand together."

The Bataan ARG is comprised of Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), and Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50). Bataan and Carter Hall recently reintegrated with Mesa Verde in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations after conducting presence and security operations in the U.S. Fifth Fleet area of operations. The separation and re-aggregation of the Bataan ARG highlighted the U.S. Navy’s inherent flexibility to conduct operations whenever and wherever we choose, giving our nation and Allies deterrence and defense options, as well as reinforcing the strong bond between the United States and Turkey.

The ARG/MEU team will continue to support its NATO Allies and partners by conducting routine operations, participating in training exercises, and supporting NATO priorities.

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of responsibility. U.S. 6th Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.

For more information, please contact Amphibious Squadron 8 Public Affairs Team,