U.S. Navy’s amphibious assault ship USS Wasp rounded off four months at sea as it pulled into Souda Bay, Greece, on October 24.
The ship’s crew, embarked Amphibious Squadron 6 staff, and embarked marines spent 121 total days underway, interrupted only by a brief stop for fuel in Rota, Spain, in July.
USS Wasp marines had been conducting precision air strikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets in Sirte, Libya, singe August 1, as part of Operation Odyssey Lightning (OOL) to support the Libyan Government of National Accord-aligned forces fighting there.
After two and a half months of operations, amphibious transport dock USS San Antonio (LPD 17) relieved Wasp to continue supporting that mission.
“As we reach the end of our fourth consecutive month out to sea, our team has continued to demonstrate exceptional fortitude, resilience, and grit. We have traveled more than 22,000 miles, performed more than 4,500 aircraft launches and recoveries, and successfully completed over a dozen replenishments-at-sea with no mishaps. It has been challenging, but I couldn’t be prouder of every Sailor and Marine on board this ship,” said USS Wasp Commanding Officer, Capt. Andrew Smith.
The U.S. Navy has also announced that Wasp would become part of the U.S. 7th Fleet forward deployed naval forces in the fall of 2017. This mean that the ship will have to change its Norfolk, Virginia homeport for Sasebo, Japan.
USS Wasp has been recently modernized to accommodate the Marine Corps variant of the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35B), which is capable of Short Take-off Vertical Landing (STOVL), enabling it to operate out of a wide range of bases, both afloat and a shore.
Wasp has also received upgrades to the combat systems suite to include upgrades to MK 2 Ship Self Defense System, SPQ-9B horizon search radar, MK 57 NATO Sea Sparrow missile system, and upgrades to the shipboard local area network (LAN) and data link capability.