Photo Information

Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Battalion Landing Team 2/2 perform weapons marksmanship live-fire exercises, March 30, 2007, on the flight deck of the USS Bataan (LHD-5). The 26th MEU and the Bataan Strike Goup are currently conducting Maritime Security Operations in the Central Arabian Gulf. (Official USMC photo by Lance Cpl. Aaron J. Rock)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Aaron Rock

BBC documents daily life on Bataan

30 Mar 2007 | Lance Cpl. Aaron J. Rock 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit

A film documentary crew visited the Marines and Sailors of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit here, today, to experience a day aboard an amphibious assault ship.

The crew members, who are producing a 30-minute-long documentary for the British Broadcasting Corporation's premiere documentary and news series "This World," visited the USS Bataan as part of their coverage of the naval forces operating in the Arabian Gulf region.

Ben Anderson, a reporter with the BBC, said the film crew had previously visited the U.S. aircraft carriers USS Eisenhower and USS Stennis, as well as the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaul. However, he said the trip to Bataan served to show the range of operational assets afloat in the Gulf.

"We came to the Bataan to show the diversity of the ships," he said. "There aren't just aircraft carriers out here."

Anderson said on an amphibious assault ship like Bataan there is a wider array of activities occurring all the time compared to a full-sized aircraft carrier, which tends to concentrate almost exclusively on flight deck operations.

"There is much more diverse stuff going on than on a carrier," he said.

Over the course of the film crew's two day stay aboard the Bataan, the crew documented many training evolutions conducted by the 26th MEU, but could not cover them all.

The crew's coverage of a Corporal's Leadership Course, Enhanced Marksmanship Program weapons firing, Digital Virtual Training Environment exercises, flight deck operations by all the MEU's fixed-wing aircraft and helicopter types, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program training, and a five-mile hike conducted on the flight deck pushed the crew to near exhaustion, but did not totally capture the 48-hour period in the life of the 26th MEU.

The number and variety of things the MEU Marines and Sailors are busy doing every day is impressive, said Col. Gregg A. Sturdevant, commanding officer of the 26th MEU.

The varied activities and training events that are constantly taking place are important to keep the warriors of the 26th MEU ready, and to keep ship-life from getting too tedious, he said.

"I told (the film crew) how pleased I was with the job individual commanders and their operations departments are doing with their creative approach to training," Sturdevant said.  "Without a creative training schedule life aboard ship can get very boring very quickly."

Sturdevant added the training is especially important because of the role the 26th MEU is playing in the Arabian Gulf as the theatre reserve, as well as helping improve security and stability in the region.

"We must continue to train hard because of the volatility of this part of the world the situation could change at a moments notice and with it our mission," he said.

As the BBC crew members prepared to leave the Bataan, they said the ship visit had been their best during their Gulf operations coverage, but they were looking forward to some rest after experiencing a day in the life of the MEU.

The 26th MEU and the ships of the Bataan Strike Group are currently engaged in maritime security operations in the central Arabian Gulf.

MSOs help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

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