U.S. Navy’s aviation-centric amphibious assault ship USS America started its first deployment on July 7, leaving Naval Station Norfolk together with ships from its amphibious ready group.
America ARG is comprised of amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), amphibious transport dock USS San Diego (LPD 22), and amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52).
While deployed, the America ARG/15th MEU team is scheduled operate in the Pacific, Middle East, and the Horn of Africa, conducting maritime security operations, crisis response capability, theater security cooperation and forward naval presence.
USS America is deploying as the first ship of its class. It is capable of accommodating the F-35B fifth-generation fighter aircraft which recently completed its third and final developmental test phase (DT-III) aboard USS America.
Compared to previous amphibious assault ships, America’s design features several enhanced aviation capabilities which include an enlarged hangar deck, realignment and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, a significant increase in available stowage of parts and equipment and an increased aviation fuel capacity.
America can accommodate F-35Bs, MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, and a complement of Navy and Marine Corps helicopters.
“It has been incredible to see the America ARG/15th MEU team come together as a highly capable, lethal, and ready force,” said Capt. Rome Ruiz, commander, PHIBRON 3.
America ARG units have spent most of the past six months underway preparing for deployment by completing a challenging and comprehensive pre-deployment training cycle. Integrated training evolutions included PHIBRON/MEU Integration Exercise (PMINT), Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), and Certification Exercise (CERTEX), which collectively ensure the Navy/Marine Corps team is at its highest level of readiness to swiftly and precisely accomplish missions.