Amphibious warship USS Mesa Verde (LPD-9) is now in the Mediterranean Sea, continuing to sail apart from the other ships in the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group.
Ship spotters saw Mesa Verde cross the Gibraltar Strait with three Spanish naval ships on Tuesday morning, according to a social media post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock along with Spanish Navy vessels ESPS Galicia (L51), ESPS Castilla (L52) and ESPS Numancia (F83) in the eastbound in the Strait of Gibraltar – October 3, 2023
SRC: INST- jr_amon_ceuta_shipspotting pic.twitter.com/EprQggnPN0
— WarshipCam (@WarshipCam) October 3, 2023
Mesa Verde is assigned to the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, but has been on its own since the summer when USS Bataan (LHD-5) and USS Carter Hall (LSD-50) were sent to U.S. 5th Fleet to respond to Iranian attacks on commercial tankers.
With Mesa Verde now in the Mediterranean, the ship is closer to other ships in the ARG, as both of them passed through the Strait of Gibraltar and into the Mediterranean in July. However, a Navy official told USNI News, the three ships won’t likely join together until near the end of the deployment.
Mesa Verde, with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) embarked, spent most of September in the Baltic Sea region for exercise Northern Coasts 2023, which ran from Sept. 4 to 22. It was the first time a U.S. landing force participated in the land aspect of the exercise, according to a Marine Corps news release.
“The Marines and Sailors with the 26th MEU(SOC) showcased their ability to integrate with German Sea Battalion Marines, Italian San Marco Brigade Marines, members of the Latvian National Guard, and U.S. Army Special Operations Forces, further strengthening our interdependence with regional partners while showcasing the interoperability of the 26th MEU(SOC) with Joint Forces and our Allies and Partners within the USEUCOM area of responsibility,” Lt. Col. Josef Wiese, executive officer of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, said in the release.
Before participating in the exercise, Mesa Verde and the 26th MEU were in Norway as part of its scheduled deployment to U.S. 6th Fleet. The ship and the embarked unit spent most of August in between the Mediterranean Sea and Norway, where the Marines participated in land exercises.
Mesa Verde departed Norfolk with Bataan and Carter Hall in the beginning of July, but Mesa Verde has been alone for most of its scheduled deployment. Bataan and Carter Hall are operating in the Persian Gulf as of Monday, according to the USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker.