The USS Bataan, a name that resonates with heroism and sacrifice both in the annals of the U.S. Navy and the broader historical context of World War II, has been bestowed upon two distinguished naval vessels. The original, the small aircraft carrier USS Bataan (CVL 29), and its modern namesake, the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), both exemplify the spirit of resilience and unyielding determination embodied by the defenders of Bataan during the Second World War.
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USS Bataan: A Moniker Born from Valor
The christening of a naval vessel with the name Bataan pays homage to one of the most significant and tragic battles of World War II, the Battle of Bataan. This battle, fought in the Philippines, was a testament to the indomitable spirit of the American and Filipino forces who defended the Bataan peninsula against overwhelming odds. The name Bataan serves as a lasting tribute to their courage and sacrifice.
The Original USS Bataan (CVL 29): A Legacy Retired
The first vessel to bear the name was the USS Bataan (CVL 29), a small aircraft carrier that served with distinction in the Pacific theatre during World War II. The ship played a crucial role in supporting air operations and earned an impressive record of service before being decommissioned and ultimately retired.
The Modern USS Bataan (LHD 5): Continuing a Tradition of Excellence
The legacy of the Bataan name lives on with the modern USS Bataan (LHD 5), a Wasp -class amphibious assault ship in the United States Navy. This formidable vessel represents a significant evolution in naval architecture and maritime warfare capabilities.
The Christening of USS Bataan (LHD 5)
The new USS Bataan was christened by Linda Sloan Mundy, wife of former Marine Corps Commandant Gen Carl E. Mundy, Jr.. The christening ceremony, held at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, was attended by over 100 members of veterans groups associated with the Battle of Bataan and other significant military events. The ship was commissioned on 20 September 1997, marking the beginning of its service to the United States.
A History of Service and Sacrifice
Over the years, the USS Bataan has participated in a wide range of operations, both military and humanitarian. From responding to the 11 September 2001 attacks and providing assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to serving as a testing bed for the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and participating in the 2014 air campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the ship has proven its versatility and value time and again.
Operation Enduring Freedom (2001 to 2003)
One of the most notable early deployments of the USS Bataan was in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As part of the Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), the ship was one of the first to respond, providing vital medical support in New York Harbor before returning to Norfolk, Virginia. The ship then supported the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit in the opening of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
The Iraq War (2003 to 2007)
During the Iraq War, the USS Bataan was heavily involved in the Middle East region. After delivering its complement of attack and transport helicopters, troops, and vehicles, it served as a “Harrier Carrier,” supporting two Marine AV-8B Harrier II squadrons.
Hurricane Katrina (2005)
In one of its most notable humanitarian missions, the USS Bataan provided critical relief to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The ship’s helicopters were among the first to provide damage assessment, and the ship delivered over 100,000 pounds of cargo and 8,000 gallons of fresh water to the affected area.
Evaluation of V-22 Osprey (2005)
In a testament to its versatility, the USS Bataan served as a naval testbed for the evaluation of the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. In 2009, it became the first Navy ship to host an operational squadron of V-22 rotorcraft.
Recent Deployments and Operations
In recent years, the USS Bataan has continued to be actively deployed in various operations, including providing relief in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya in 2011, and participating in the 2014 air campaign against ISIS. The ship also conducted operations with the Mark VI patrol boat in 2016, demonstrating the capability to launch and dock the patrol boat with an amphibious assault ship.
Awards and Honors
Several medals have been bestowed upon the USS Bataan for its service to the country. These include the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on TEM with three service stars, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Humanitarian Service Medal with one service star.
The USS Bataan Today
As of 2023, the USS Bataan, along with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (SOC), has been ordered to leave exercises off Kuwait to potentially sail to the Mediterranean due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
From its christening to its many deployments in service of both military and humanitarian missions, the USS Bataan continues to uphold the legacy of its namesake. It stands as a testament to the courage, commitment, and honor of those who serve aboard it, embodying the spirit of resilience and unyielding determination that defines the U.S. Navy.
The USS Bataan is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship in the United States Navy. Named after the Battle of Bataan from World War II, it is the second ship to bear the name.
The USS Bataan was commissioned on 20 September 1997.
The USS Bataan has undertaken a variety of missions, including responding to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, providing relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, serving as a testing bed for the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, and participating in the 2014 air campaign against ISIS.
The USS Bataan has received multiple medals for its service, including the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal with three service stars, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Humanitarian Service Medal with one service star.
As of 2023, due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, the USS Bataan and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) have been instructed to cease exercises off Kuwait and likely sail to the Mediterranean.