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The US assault ship USS Bataan raced at “top speed” into the Red Sea fight, ready to “punch someone in the face” if necessary, senior officers say.

The US assault ship USS Bataan raced at “top speed” into the Red Sea fight, ready to “punch someone in the face” if necessary, senior officers say.


The USS Bataan expanded its deployment last year and sailed into the Red Sea to fight the Houthis.

The U.S. amphibious assault ship joined a fight largely aimed at other ships, a senior officer said.

The Bataan is in New York this week as part of Fleet Week 2024.

As war broke out between Israel and Hamas and the Iranian-backed Houthis began terrorizing commercial shipping, the US Navy warship USS Bataan changed its plans and rushed at “the best speed » in the Red Sea.

The move came with an unexpected expansion of its deployment and brought the Bataan, an amphibious assault ship, into a fight largely aimed at other warships like aircraft carriers, destroyers and cruisers. , a senior officer told Business Insider.

Now, months after the Bataan's return, the warship is docked in New York for Fleet Week 2024, offering the public a rare chance to meet its sailors and Marines.

On Wednesday afternoon, aboard the Bataan, the head of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Admiral Darryl Caudle, praised the ship's deployment, particularly its actions in the Red Sea.

Adm. Daryl Caudle, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, speaks during the Fleet Week New York ship opening ceremony at the Intrepid Museum, May 22, 2024. U.S. Navy photo by Naval Specialist Mass Communications 1st Class Clay Whaley

Eight and a half months, he said, is “a long time to be away from home, away from families and conducting business on behalf of the Navy and our nation.” And I think I would call what they did remarkable. ” Caudle added that he was recently informed of the deployment.

Bataan arrived in the Persian Gulf in August, where she was scheduled to spend the duration of her deployment, but when Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, the large-deck amphib booked her for Kuwait, picking up Marines and then leaving “at better speed” towards the Red Sea, where the Bataan remained until the end of the year.

“In the end, we were there [for] presence operations, but we also launch AV-8s to intercept KAS-4s in flight, and we were able in some cases to fire self-defense fire,” said Capt. Trace Head, executive officer of the ship, referring to the ship's Harrier jump jets and a type of Iranian-made drone.

Head explained that the Houthis were “not necessarily firing” at the Bataan, but rather targeting Israel and commercial ships transiting the Red Sea, “but we were in the path of those missiles where we could fire at them.”

The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) defeats a combination of Houthi missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles in the Red Sea, Oct. 19, 2023. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd class Aaron Lau

The Bataan's role was deterrence, but he said “this mission is largely a destroyer/cruiser mission where they fire their surface-to-air missiles, and they are much better equipped for that.”

U.S. Navy destroyers like the USS Carney and the USS Gravely, for example, have been on the front lines of the fight against the Houthis, taking down dozens of threats in recent months. When the Pentagon decided to keep the Bataan in the Red Sea for a period of time, there were at least three guided-missile destroyers in the area. Amphibious assault ships, however, are very versatile and bring different capabilities to combat.

Bataan was involved in retaliatory airstrikes against Houthi forces in Yemen in January, according to a BBC report. He was also responsible for helping to shoot down Houthi missiles.

Atlantic Ocean, December 12, 2013 – An SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter lands on the flight deck aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5).Stocktrek Images

Some of the Bataan's various aircraft were on display at Fleet Week, including the AV-8B Harrier II attack aircraft, MV-22B Osprey assault support tiltrotors and Super Cobra attack helicopters. The Bataan is armed with a few weapon systems, including two RIM-7 Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft missile launchers.

Perhaps the most notable feature of this amphibious assault ship is its well deck, which allows boats and other water vehicles to dock inside the ship. It also allows the Bataan to load land vehicles, such as battle tanks and armored personnel carriers, onto water vehicles to bring them ashore.

Maritime Forces Command chief Lt. Gen. Brian Cavanaugh told BI that having the Bataan, along with other elements of the Amphibious Readiness Group, in the Red Sea at that time sent ” a signal “.

Persian Gulf, August 24, 2014 – Marines aboard an amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) exit the well deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5).Stocktrek Images

“It's a very deterrent,” he explained, saying that “there are a lot of deaths on the ship, so we can go and punch someone in the face if we need to in the name of the nation “.

Aboard the Bataan during Fleet Week in New York, Petty Officer Second Class Bradley Rickard told BI the sudden reshuffling of duties was “very surprising,” but they adapted, emphasizing the crew's flexibility.

“A lot of the deployment was not what the crew initially expected,” he said, “but we were ready to answer the call. We went out there and we accomplished our mission in the areas we were asked to be there for.”

Read the original article on Business Insider




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