NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — WAVY’s Navy Ship Salute is a feature on WAVY News 10 Today. Each month, in partnership with the U.S. Navy, WAVY-TV 10 will profile a different ship based at the world’s largest Navy base: Naval Station Norfolk. The series aims to better introduce our viewers to some of the largest floating taxpayer assets there are, as well as life aboard a U.S. Navy ship.

For December 2022, 10 On Your Side was welcomed on board USS Bataan (LHD-5).

USS Bataan is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship that was first commissioned in 1997. Built at Ingalls Shipbuilding shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi and the 5th in her class, she is the second ship named to honor those involved in the Battle of Bataan in the Philippines, during World War II.

“Tens of thousands of American service members died either in battle or during the unconscionable ‘Bataan Death March,'” according to the ship’s website. “The 65-mile ‘Death March’ alone claimed the lives of more than 21,000 allies in less than a week and is marked as one of the greatest tragedies of World War II.”

Today, USS Bataan is preparing to deploy again over the summer. A crew of roughly 1,000 sailors man her while carrying roughly 2,000 U.S. Marines.

“We bring the Marines to the fight,” Chief Jay Westmoreland, the ship’s Command Master Chief, said. “We also have the capabilities of a light aircraft carrier.”

USS Bataan is 843-feet-long and powered by two diesel-fueled boilers that turn two geared steam turbines.

Lighting off the ship occurs with a kerosene-soaked torch and occurs four days before the ship leaves port. It takes hours to get up to the 700 pounds of pressure needed.

Aside from equipment used by the U.S. Marines that is kept below deck on the ship, the standard complement of aircraft utilizing the ship includes: AV-8B Harrier II, AH-LW Supercobra, UH-LY Huey, MV-22B Osprey, MH-60S Seahawk and CH-53E Super Stallion.