We knew that the Hoyas and Gators were set to open the 2012-2013 college basketball season on a naval ship, and today we found out which one. According to the Florida Times-Union, the two national powers will battle on the deck of the USS Bataan.
The Navy will send the LHD 5 Wasp Class amphibious assault ship to Mayport to serve as a floating court for the Gators and Hoyas. The Bataan, commissioned in 1997, is 844 feet long, 106 feet wide and can hold a total of 3,200 crew members and embarked troops.
The Bataan's primary purpose is to deliver up to 2,000 members of a Marine Expeditionary Unit; it received the Navy's Humanitarian Service medal for its deployment to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and for providing relief to Haiti after an earthquake in 2010. The Bataan was the first Navy ship to arrive on the scene after Katrina and spent 19 days moving more than 1,600 people to safety and delivering more than 160,000 pounds of supplies.
The Bataan is currently providing maritime security operations and theater security for the U.S. 5th Fleet in the Middle East. It is scheduled to be homeported to Mayport in the fall of 2013 and will be accompanied in November by two ships that also will be stationed at Mayport next year.
Though tickets to the event will be extremely difficult to come by unless you rob a bank (and by all means please do!), this is pretty cool!