HAIFA, Israel (NNS) — Amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) and embarked Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, arrived in Haifa, Israel, for a scheduled port visit March 16.
During the port visit, Mesa Verde is scheduled to conduct ship tours and engage in community relations projects. The Sailors and Marines aboard Mesa Verde will also have an opportunity to visit local sites and learn about the local culture.
“The crew of USS Mesa Verde is thrilled to visit Haifa and Israel, in general. In addition to the opportunities we have to walk this historic land and see sites that most Americans only read about, we also have the opportunity to strengthen the security relationship we have with the people of Israel.” – USS Mesa Verde Commanding Officer, Capt. Randy Peck
Mesa Verde is designed to transport and land Marines, their equipment and supplies by embarked Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), conventional landing craft or Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles, augmented by helicopters or vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.
While in theater, more than 4,000 Sailors and Marines of the ARG and MEU will train to share information, experiences, and work together for regional stability.
The Bataan ARG is comprised of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 8, the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), Mesa Verde, and amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50). Also embarked on the Bataan ARG are Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 26, Fleet Surgical Team 6, Tactical Air Control Squadron 21, Assault Craft Unit 4, and Beachmaster Unit 2.
The 24th MEU consists of more than 2,200 Marines, including a Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365 (Reinforced), and Combat Logistics Battalion 24 and the MEU command element.
Strengthening alliances during port visits demonstrates the shared commitment to promote safety and stability within the region, while seeking opportunities to enhance interoperability with partners such as Israel.
This deployment is part of a regular rotation of forces to support maritime security operations, provide crisis response capability, and increase theater security cooperation and forward naval presence in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.
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For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.