USS Bataan (LHD-5)

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For other ships of the same name, see USS Bataan.
USS Bataan (LHD-5), in the Atlantic, preparing for deployment, 17 July 1999
USS Bataan
United States
Name: USS Bataan
Namesake: the defense of the Bataan Peninsula
Ordered: 20 December 1991
Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding
Laid down: 22 June 1994
Launched: 15 March 1996
Christened: 18 May 1996
Commissioned: 20 September 1997
Homeport: Norfolk, Virginia
Motto: Courage, Commitment, Honor
Nickname(s): "Big 5", "Dirty Nickel", "Rusty Nickel", "Cell Block 5"
Status: in active service, as of 2015
Badge: USS Bataan COA.png
General characteristics
Class & type: Wasp-class amphibious assault ship
Displacement: 40,358 long tons (41,006 t) full load
Length: 844 ft (257 m)
Beam: 106 ft (32 m)
Draft: 27 ft (8.2 m)
Propulsion: Geared steam turbines
Speed: exceeds 20 knots (23 mph; 37 km/h)
Troops: 1,894 Marines
Complement: 104 officers, 1,004 enlisted
Aircraft carried:

USS Bataan (LHD-5) is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship commissioned in 1997. The ship is named to honor the defense of the Bataan Peninsula on the western side of Manila Bay in the Philippines during the early days of US involvement in World War II.


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. More than 100 members of veterans groups associated with the defense of Bataan and the subsequent infamous "Death March", the Battle of Corregidor, and the aircraft carrier USS Bataan (CVL-29) were at the christening ceremony.


Sailors assigned to USS Bataan assist in the unfolding of a flag flown over the World Trade Center in New York City on 11 September 2001.

2001 to 2003 Operation Enduring Freedom[edit]

The USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (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 from early leave and the ship headed for New York Harbor, as it is capable of acting as a 600-bed hospital ship with surgical suites on board. Once it was determined there were few survivors, 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 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.

2003 to 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.[1] 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.[citation needed]

Bataan provided relief to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. She was positioned near New Orleans prior to Katrina making landfall, and began relief operations on 30 August. The ship's helicopters were among the first to provide damage assessment. They went on to transport over 1,600 displaced persons. 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.[citation needed]

2005 evaluation of V-22 Osprey[edit]

Bataan served as a naval testbed for 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 a total of eight Ospreys.

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.[2]

2008 Hurricane Gustav[edit]

Early 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 is directed to provide assistance to civilian authorities after Hurricane Gustav came ashore.[3]

2010 Haiti earthquake[edit]

On 13 January 2010, Bataan was ordered to assist in the humanitarian relief efforts following the 2010 Haiti earthquake.[4] She was deployed to Grand-Goâve and returned home 1 April 2010.[5]

2011 Libya and Italy[edit]

Gulf of Oman, (December 15, 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.[citation needed]

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.[6]

Controversy regarding 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 where they believed that terrorism suspects were being imprisoned.[7] The US Navy denied the allegation.

On 2 June 2008, The Guardian reported that "The US has admitted that the Bataan and Peleliu were used as prison ships between December 2001 and January 2002". The article went on to state: "President George Bush admitted in September 2006 that the CIA operated a secret network of 'black sites' in which terrorist suspects were held."

It is also known that John Walker Lindh, the "American Taliban", was escorted back to the United States aboard Bataan.[8]

Crew dismissals[edit]

In February 2011, the Navy announced that 16 members of the ship's crew were being dismissed for using the cannabis-analogue drug spice. Fifteen of the sailors received non-judicial punishment and one was convicted in a summary court-martial after an eight-week investigation into use of the drug by the ship's crewmembers.[9][10]


  1. ^ Ansarov, Sonya (24 March 2003). "Harrier Carrier: Strike Force for Freedom". [dead link]
  2. ^ "Air Transportation: MV-22s Go To Sea". 22 April 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2015. 
  3. ^ U.S. Fleet Forces Command Public Affairs (1 September 2008). "Navy Flexes to Support Hurricane Gustav Recovery Efforts" (Press release) (NNS080901-03). United States Navy. Retrieved 22 October 2015. 
  4. ^ Bacon, Lance M. (13 January 2010). "Carl Vinson, 6 Other Ships Headed to Haiti". Navy Times. Retrieved 22 October 2015.  (subscription required)
  5. ^ "Haiti. USS Bataan sailors rebuild, bring relief to Grande Goave". BYM News. 29 January 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2015. 
  6. ^ Stewart, Joshua (10 September 2014). "Marine Harrier strikes Islamic State near Haditha Dam". Marine Times. Retrieved 22 October 2015. 
  7. ^ "USS Bataan". Reprieve. [dead link]
  8. ^ Campbell, Duncan; Norton-Taylor, Richard (2 June 2008), "Prison ships, torture claims, and missing detainees", The Guardian, retrieved 22 October 2015 
  9. ^ Reilly, Corinne (3 February 2011). "Navy Discharging 16 On Bataan For Using Or Dealing Spice". Norfolk Virginian-Pilot. 
  10. ^ McMichael, William H. (3 February 2011). "16 Bataan sailors discharged for spice use". Military Times. Retrieved 22 October 2015. 

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