USS BATAAN --
Marines and sailors serving aboard USS Bataan in the Mediterranean Sea crowded the flight deck of the ship to enjoy a long-awaited break from the rigors of deployment during a recreational day, May 15, 2011.
The Mediterranean’s tranquil blue sea and vast clear skies provided a stunning backdrop for servicemembers during what some would consider a “Steel Beach” leisure day aboard the ship.
The Marines, Sailors and embarked civilians enjoyed ice-cold beverages, treats from the grill, playing catch, listening to live bands and soaking in the sun for the better part of the day. The scene mimicked an oceanfront festival.
Musicians relaxed on the ship’s edge and played songs, while others rode circus-like tricycles, played basketball and socialized with fellow shipmates.
“I think it’s really important, because after being cooped up in a tiny area for so long, you need to get out and just have fun,” said Sgt. Joshua Berry, 22, a sensor employment team leader with the ground sensor platoon, Command Element, 22nd MEU, and Springfield, Ohio, native. “I think days like this are great, and we could really use a few more later on down the road.”
The Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU are currently deployed with Amphibious Squadron 6 aboard USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and will continue to train and improve the MEU’s ability to operate as a cohesive and effective Marine Air Ground Task Force.
The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission, capable force, commanded by Col. Eric J. Steidl and comprised of an Aviation Combat Element, Marine Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); a Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; a Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and its Command Element.
Marine Expeditionary Units are the Marine Corps’ smallest permanent Marine Air-Ground Task Force, and comprised of approximately 2,200 Marines and sailors ready to provide immediate response to a hostile environment or crisis.