US Navy Undersecretary visits USS America

Undersecretary of the Navy Dr. Janine Davidson passes through the ceremonial rainbow sideboys as she arrives aboard the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) for a scheduled visit. Photo: US Navy

Under Secretary of the U.S. Navy Dr. Janine Davidson was flown to the Navy’s newest amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) for a visit while it was underway participating in the 2016 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, July 18.

During her time aboard, Davidson toured the combat information center, amphibious air traffic control center, joint information center, a main engine room, and ate on the ship’s mess decks with Sailors and Marines.

America’s history and future were among the topics of discussion during the under secretary’s lunch with the crew.

“It made me feel like I had some input in what the future of the Navy is going to be like,” said Quartermaster 3rd Class Dartagnan Carcana, assigned to America. “It was a nice experience knowing that what I said is being heard.”

“A lot of people were really nervous at first just because it was a VIP visit, but afterward the consensus was ‘that was pretty cool,'” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Tavaris Hobbs, assigned to Fleet Surgical Team 1 with Commander, Amphibious Squadron 3. “It’s something that you’ll rarely be able to do in your naval career.”

Davidson said visiting the ship during the world’s largest multinational maritime exercise was high on her list of things to do, and she appreciated talking to the Sailors, Marines and partners aboard to hear about how much they’re learning and how much they enjoy their jobs.

“You can’t come out here and not be amazed at the choreographed ballet that is [amphibious] operations, especially out on the flight deck,” Davidson said.

While aboard, Davidson toured the ship with Capt. Michael W. Baze, America’s commanding officer. One stop on the tour was a main engine room. Davidson was particularly interested in the ship’s hybrid electric drive and fuel conservation efforts as part of the Great Green Fleet initiative.

America’s hybrid electric propulsion system uses a gas turbine engine as well as an electric motor and diesel generator. The electric motor propels the ship through the water while the generator produces the ship’s electricity. Similar to a hybrid car, once the ship reaches 12 knots, the gas-turbine engine kicks in.

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