USS Bataan (LHD-5)

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USS Bataan (LHD-5), in the Atlantic, preparing for deployment, 17 July 1999
USS Bataan underway in 1999
United States
NamesakeUSS Bataan (CVL-29)
Ordered20 December 1991
BuilderIngalls Shipbuilding
Laid down22 June 1994
Launched15 March 1996
Christened18 May 1996
Commissioned20 September 1997
MottoCourage, Commitment, Honor
Statusin active service
General characteristics
TypeWasp-class amphibious assault ship
Displacement40,500 long tons (41,150 t) full load
Length843 ft (257 m)
Beam104 ft (31.8 m)
Draft27 ft (8.1 m)
PropulsionTwo boilers, two geared steam turbines, two shafts, 70,000 shp (52,000 kW);
Speed22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph)
Range9,500 nautical miles (17,600 km; 10,900 mi) at 18 kn (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Well deck dimensions: 266-by-50-foot (81 by 15.2 m) by 28-foot (8.5 m) high
Boats & landing
craft carried
Troops1,687 troops (plus 184 surge) Marine Detachment
Sensors and
processing systems
Aircraft carried

USS Bataan (LHD-5) is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship in the United States Navy. The ship is named after the Battle of Bataan, fought in the Philippines during World War II. The ship enables the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps team to seamlessly transition from the sea to a land battle, as the lead ship and centerpiece of an Amphibious Ready Group. She is capable of amphibious assault, advance force, and special purpose operations, as well as evacuation and humanitarian assistance. The ship effected the 2020 targeted killing of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the commander of the Quds Force, which is designated a terrorist organization by the United States.


Ship's sponsor, Linda Sloan Mundy, wife of former Marine Corps Commandant Gen Carl E. Mundy, Jr., christened the new ship "in the name of the United States and in honor of the heroic defenders of Bataan" at Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi.[2] More than 100 members of veterans groups associated with both the Battle of Bataan and the infamous "Bataan Death March" that followed, as well as the Battle of Corregidor, and the aircraft carrier Bataan (CVL-29), were at the christening ceremony. She was launched on 15 March 1996, and commissioned on 20 September 1997.[2][3] Her homeport is Norfolk, Virginia.[3]


Bataan enables the Navy and Marine Corps team to seamlessly transition from the sea to a land battle, as the lead ship and centerpiece of an Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).[4] The ship is capable of amphibious assault, advance force, and special purpose operations, as well as evacuation and humanitarian assistance.[4]


Sailors assigned to Bataan assist in the unfolding of a flag that was flying over the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001, during a ceremony in 2008
USMC M327 mortar air lifted onto Bataan's deck by MH-60S Seahawk on 7 June 2006

2001–2003: Operation Enduring Freedom[edit]

The USS Bataan (ARG were the first ships to respond after the 11 September 2001 attacks. The ship was home on leave during the attack, and was scheduled to be deployed on 19 September 2001. The crew was called back early from leave and the ship headed for New York Harbor, as she is capable of acting as a 600-bed hospital ship with surgical suites on board. Once it was determined there were few survivors from the attack, Bataan returned to Norfolk, Virginia. The ship's crew prepared and onloaded the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit with gear both pierside in Norfolk, and off the coast of North Carolina from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and Camp Lejeune. The Bataan ARG delivered more than 2,500 Marines and their equipment to Pakistan, with the aim to enter Afghanistan, thus opening Operation Enduring Freedom. The Bataan ARG stayed on station off the coast of Pakistan and completed the longest sustained amphibious assault in U.S. history, with sailors not touching ground for over four months as they marched nearly 700 nautical miles into Afghanistan.[5][4]

2003–2007: Iraq War[edit]

Bataan was one of many vessels in the Middle East region at the beginning of the Iraq War on or about 20 March 2003. After delivering her attack and transport helicopters, troops, and vehicles she was employed as a "Harrier Carrier" with primary duties supporting two Marine AV-8B Harrier II squadrons along with USS Bonhomme Richard.[6][4] She launched air strikes and close air support missions.[4] She has made two deployments to the region since the invasion. For her third deployment, she joined the Fifth Fleet in the Gulf region, transiting the Suez Canal into the Red Sea on 30 January 2007.[5]

2005: Hurricane Katrina[edit]

Bataan provided relief to the victims of category-4 Hurricane Katrina.[4] She was positioned near New Orleans prior to Katrina making landfall on 29 August 2005, and began relief operations the following day. The ship's helicopters were among the first to provide damage assessment. They went on to transport over 1,600 displaced persons to safety.[4] Bataan delivered more than 100,000 pounds (45,000 kg) of cargo and 8,000 U.S. gallons (30,000 liters) of fresh water to the area. The ship served as a base for two fly-away medical teams, consisting of 84 medical professionals, who provided emergency medical care in New Orleans.[5]

2005: Evaluation of V-22 Osprey[edit]

Bataan served as a naval testbed for the evaluation of the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft in September 2005. This work included OPEVAL II operational and live fire tests, and was accomplished with eight Ospreys.[5] In 2009, Bataan became the first Navy ship to host an operational squadron of V-22 rotorcraft when she embarked ten Ospreys of the VMM-263.[7]

2008: Hurricane Gustav[edit]

In September 2008, Bataan participated in the HURREX exercise where the U.S. Second Fleet directed tests designed to evaluate the ship's ability to respond to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief needs during the 2008 hurricane season. She was ordered to be prepared to deploy in the event that the Navy was directed to provide assistance to civilian authorities after Hurricane Gustav came ashore.[8]

2008: Use as a prison ship[edit]

In June 2008, the UK-based human rights organization Reprieve issued a report that listed Bataan as one of up to 17 ships they believed were used to imprison terrorism suspects.[9] On 2 June 2008, The Guardian reported that "The US had admitted that Bataan and Peleliu were used as prison ships between December 2001 and January 2002".[10]

2010: Haiti earthquake[edit]

On 13 January 2010, Bataan was ordered to assist in the humanitarian relief efforts following the 7.0 magnitude 2010 Haiti earthquake.[4][11] She was deployed to Grand-Goâve, and returned home 1 April 2010.[12]

2011: Libya and Italy[edit]

Gulf of Oman, (15 December 2011). A firefighting team enters a smoke-filled room to extinguish a mock fire during a general quarters drill aboard Bataan

On 23 March 2011, Bataan was deployed to Italy to assist in enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya.[5]

2014: Air campaign in Iraq[edit]

During the 2014 air campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, AV-8B Harriers from Bataan participated in reconnaissance missions and at least one air strike, including the first use of Marine Corps ordnance against an ISIS-controlled target.[13]

2016: Mark VI patrol boat operations[edit]

A Mark VI patrol boat docking with Bataan

In May 2016, Bataan conducted well deck operations with the Mark VI patrol boat, demonstrating the capability to launch and dock the 85 ft patrol boat with an amphibious assault ship. This was the first time the Mark VI operated out of an LHD, and the second time it operated out of a well deck overall. [14]

2020: Iran's increasing threat and tensions[edit]

After effecting the targeted killing in 2020 of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the commander of the Quds Force, which is designated a terrorist organization by the United States, the Bataan was retasked to head to the Middle East to be on standby for operations.[15]


On 19 January 2022, Bataan completed a 16-month maintenance at Norfolk.[16]


As of 11 October 2023, Bataan, with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), along with USS Carter Hall (LSD-50), were ordered to leave exercises off Kuwait to potentially sail to the Mediterranean due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.[17][18]


In January 2024 during the Red Sea crisis one of the Harriers was modified for air defense; its pilot Captain Ehrhart is reported to have shot down seven Houthi suicide attack drones.[19]



  1. ^ "Fact File: Amphibious Assault Ships - LHD/LHA(R)". U.S. Navy. 13 April 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Bataan Comes of Age". DVIDS.
  3. ^ a b "Amphibious Assault Ship (Multi-Purpose) Photo Index LHD-5 Bataan".
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "History".
  5. ^ a b c d e "LHD-5 USS Bataan Wasp class Amphibious Assault Ship US Navy".
  6. ^ Ansarov, Sonya (24 March 2003). "Harrier Carrier: Strike Force for Freedom". Archived from the original on 10 August 2009.
  7. ^ "Air Transportation: MV-22s Go To Sea". 22 April 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  8. ^ U.S. Fleet Forces Command Public Affairs (1 September 2008). "Navy Flexes to Support Hurricane Gustav Recovery Efforts" (Press release). United States Navy. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  9. ^ "USS Bataan". Reprieve. Archived from the original on 10 August 2009.
  10. ^ Campbell, Duncan; Norton-Taylor, Richard (2 June 2008), "Prison ships, torture claims, and missing detainees", The Guardian, retrieved 22 October 2015
  11. ^ Bacon, Lance M. (13 January 2010). "Carl Vinson, 6 Other Ships Headed to Haiti". Navy Times. Archived from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2015.(subscription required)
  12. ^ "Haiti. USS Bataan sailors rebuild, bring relief to Grande Goave". BYM News. 29 January 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  13. ^ Stewart, Joshua (10 September 2014). "Marine Harrier strikes Islamic State near Haditha Dam". Marine Times. Archived from the original on 7 January 2016. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  14. ^ Minami, Raymond. "Bataan Trains with New Mark VI Patrol Boats".
  15. ^ Gibbons-Neff, Thomas (6 January 2020). "How U.S. Troops Are Preparing for the Worst in the Middle East". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  16. ^ "USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: May 23, 2022". 23 May 2022. Retrieved 2 June 2022.
  17. ^ Loewenson, Irene (11 October 2023). "Marine unit leaves Kuwait exercise early because of 'emerging events'". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 12 October 2023.
  18. ^ Wehner, Greg (11 October 2023). "Marines on the move in Middle East 'as a result of emerging events'". Fox News. Retrieved 12 October 2023.
  19. ^ "The fighter pilots hunting Houthi drones over the Red Sea". BBC News. 12 February 2024. Retrieved 16 February 2024.

External links[edit]

  • USS Bataan Homepage Archived 10 August 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  • Maritimequest USS Bataan LHD-5 Photo Gallery
  • OPEVAL II testing report in pdf form
  • The case of the Taliban American CNN
  • Navy ship nearby underused Chicago Tribune 4 September 2005 - Link Does Not Work
  • Harrier carrier: Strike force for freedom
  • USS Bataan history at U.S. Carriers