Navy News Service (13/00) March 23, 2000

NNS1304. JFK Battle Group/Bataan ARG return home
By 2nd Fleet Public Affairs
    NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines aboard the
ships which comprise the USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) Battle
Group (CVBG) and the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG)
recently returned to their respective homeports.
    USS Bataan (LHD 5) and USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41)
returned to Hampton Roads March 15, following their two-day
offload of Marines and equipment from the 22nd Marine
Expeditionary Unit/Special Operations Capable (MEU/SOC) in
North Carolina. The ARG deployed in September.
    Also making their return to East Coast homeports
following six-month deployments are the aircraft carrier USS
John F. Kennedy, several embarked aircraft squadrons and
associated escort ships.
    The six-month deployment included operations in both the
Fifth and Sixth Fleet areas, three major bilateral exercises
with 13 countries from Europe and the Middle East and multi-
national exercises Bright Star and Noble Shirley.
    Throughout the deployment, the Bataan ARG with the 22nd
MEU served as the Strategic Reserve Force for the Balkans
and supported regional security through presence operations
in the Adriatic Sea.
    The mobility and flexibility of the Navy/Marine Corps
lead team of the CVBG/ARG/MEU make them the force of choice
for a wide range of regional contingencies. They are
invaluable assets in any theater, thereby remaining an
essential and integral part of America's forward-deployed
naval commitment.