USS Bataan (LHD-5)

USS Bataan (LHD-5) is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship in the United States Navy. The ship is named for the Battle of Bataan in the Philippines, during World War II.

USS Bataan in 1999
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
Status: in active service
General characteristics
Type: Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) amphibious assault ship
Displacement: 40,500 long tons (41,150 t) full load
Length: 843 ft (257 m)
Beam: 104 ft (31.8 m)
Draft: 27 ft (8.1 m)
Propulsion: Two boilers, two geared steam turbines, two shafts, 70,000 shp (52,000 kW);
Speed: 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph)
Range: 9,500 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:
Troops: 1,687 troops (plus 184 surge) Marine Detachment
Complement: 1,208
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • 1 AN/SPS-49 2-D Air Search Radar
  • 1 AN/SPS-48 3-D Air Search Radar
  • 1 AN/SPS-67 Surface Search Radar
  • 1 Mk23 Target Acquisition System (TAS)
  • 1 AN/SPN-43 Marshalling Air Traffic Control Radar
  • 1 AN/SPN-35 Air Traffic Control Radar
  • 1 AN/URN-25 TACAN system
  • 1 AN/UPX-24 Identification Friend Foe
Aircraft carried:


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 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 commissioned on 20 September 1997.


2001 to 2003: Operation Enduring Freedom

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 she 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: The Iraq War

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.[2] 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.

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.

2005: Evaluation of V-22 Osprey

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.[3]

2008: Hurricane Gustav

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.[4]

2008: Controversial use as a prison ship

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.[5]

On 2 June 2008, The Guardian reported that "The US has admitted that Bataan and Peleliu were used as prison ships between December 2001 and January 2002".[6]

2010: Haiti earthquake

On 13 January 2010, Bataan was ordered to assist in the humanitarian relief efforts following the 2010 Haiti earthquake.[7] She was deployed to Grand-Goâve and returned home 1 April 2010.[8]

2011: Libya and Italy

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

2014: Air Campaign in Iraq

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.[9]

2016: Mark VI patrol boat operations

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. [10]



  1. "Fact File: Amphibious Assault Ships - LHD/LHA(R)". U.S. Navy. 13 April 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  2. Ansarov, Sonya (24 March 2003). "Harrier Carrier: Strike Force for Freedom". Archived from the original on 10 August 2009.
  3. "Air Transportation: MV-22s Go To Sea". 22 April 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  4. 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.
  5. "USS Bataan". Reprieve. Archived from the original on 10 August 2009.
  6. Campbell, Duncan; Norton-Taylor, Richard (2 June 2008), "Prison ships, torture claims, and missing detainees", The Guardian, retrieved 22 October 2015
  7. Bacon, Lance M. (13 January 2010). "Carl Vinson, 6 Other Ships Headed to Haiti". Navy Times. Retrieved 22 October 2015. (subscription required)
  8. "Haiti. USS Bataan sailors rebuild, bring relief to Grande Goave". BYM News. 29 January 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  9. 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.
  10. Minami, Raymond. "Bataan Trains with New Mark VI Patrol Boats".
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