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Old 02-12-2020, 12:41 PM
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Arrow Thousands of Marines enter Persian Gulf with USS Bataan’s amphibious readiness group

Thousands of Marines enter Persian Gulf with USS Bataan’s amphibious readiness group
By: JOSHUA KARSTEN | STARS AND STRIPES - Published: February 12, 2020
Re: https://www.stripes.com/news/thousan...group-1.618469

Photo(s) link: https://www.stripes.com/polopoly_fs/..._900/image.jpg
In a Feb. 10, 2020 photo, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Oak Hill is seen from the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan. - LEVI DECKER.U.S. NAVY

MANAMA, Bahrain — The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan transited the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf Wednesday, becoming the first U.S. Navy “big deck” to enter these strategic waters in 2020.

“Our passage through this important strait and continued presence in the area plays a critical role in maintaining the freedom of navigation key to regional security and stability here,” said Capt. Lance Lesher, the group’s commodore in a statement.

Bataan and its amphibious readiness group comprises 2,500 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, the transport dock ship USS New York and the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill, the statement said.

2nd photo link: https://www.stripes.com/polopoly_fs/..._900/image.jpg
The USS New York, left, and the dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS William McLean, traveling with the USS Bataan and its amphibious readiness group,transit the Strait of Hormuz, Feb. 12, 2020. - NATHAN REYES/U.S. MARINE CORPS

Also traveling with the group is the destroyer USS Carney and cargo ship USNS McClean.

The last big deck to transit the strait before the Bataan was the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln, which departed last November during its record-breaking 10-month deployment.

The 96-mile-long Strait of Hormuz is bounded to the north by Iran and to the south by Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Around a fifth of the world’s oil passes through the strategic shipping route, which is only 21 miles wide at its narrowest point.

Bataan’s passage through the strait was to “reassure allies” and ensure “stability and security essential to maritime commerce,” skipper Capt. Greg LeLand said.

“Our continued commitment to our partner nations lends to the strength of nations here in the Gulf and elsewhere in the region,” LeLand said.

The transit comes after a month of tension in the region following the January killing by the U.S. of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and retaliatory rocket attacks on an airbase in Iraq that left more than 100 U.S. service members with traumatic brain injuries.

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Personal note: I'd say we're sending a message? But what do I know?

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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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