The first of a new class of warship, the future amphibious assault ship USS America, left Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, MS, Friday on route to its new homeport of San Diego.
America is the first new-generation, “big-deck” amphibious ship, optimized for aviation and capable of supporting the Marines’ new tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey and F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. It is bigger than the standard aircraft carriers of many foreign navies.
The new ship will replace the USS Peleliu, which will be decommissioned.
America is scheduled to be formally commissioned during a ceremony in San Francisco on Oct. 11, but the ship earned commission status after the crew successfully completed three major inspections.
“This is the beginning, but we have a long way to go,” said Capt. Robert A. Hall Jr., America’s commanding officer, to his crew during an all hands call. “You guys make the foundation. What we do from this point forward will dictate the kind of ship America’s going to be, and I’m excited to get out there and introduce her to the fleet.”
America is scheduled to engage in cooperative maritime security operations over the next several months. The ship will visit Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Peru as well as Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
A second ship in the class, the USS Tripoli, is under construction, and a total of 11 vessels are planned.
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