NORFOLK -- Captain George Vassilakis, Commanding Officer, USS Bataan wrote Saturday that the amphibious ready group and embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit will stay in the the 5th Fleet area of responsibility longer than initially scheduled.
In it, the commanding officer explained Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel gave the order Friday that the ARG/MEU would stay in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility until the beginning October, extending the deployment by 21 days.
Vassilakis said the Bataan's return to Hampton Roads is scheduled for the end of October now. Tiger Cruise dates as well as post-deployment stand-down and leave schedule will be adjusted.
We're being extended to assure a continuous ARG/MEU physical presence in the Arabian Gulf and uninterrupted support for any potential tasking that may occur. This extension also provides time for USS Bataan's relief, USS Makin Island and embarked 11th MEU, to arrive on station in the are for a 'face-to-face' turnover before Bataan departs for her homeport of Norfolk, Va. and reunion with families...As always, these Sailors and Marines are the best of what our nation has given us. They've also taken the news of the extension in stride and continue to press forward.