“Unlike other ships making their maiden voyage, the amphibious assault ship America embarked Marine units to immediately begin amphibious operations.”
— MC1 John Scorza, USS America (LHA 6)
Only five days after their departure from Ingalls Shipbuilding, sailors and Marines assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) South aboard USS America (LHA 6) began a three-day bilateral exercise with the Colombian marine corps at the International Center for Amphibious Training located in Covenas, Colombia.
The U.S. Marines participated in training, including information exchanges in medical combat casualties, improvised explosive devices (IED), hand-to-hand combat, and live-fire small arms weapons shoots. Subsequently, at the medical training site, the two nations exchanged lifesaving techniques, casualty evacuation and immobilization of wounds techniques.
This week, USS America made her second port visit at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on her transit to her final destination, her homeport of San Diego, California. The port’s strategic position is essential to maritime strategy and serves as a cornerstone of U.S. military operations in the U.S. Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility.
Amphibious warships have a number of unique capabilities vital to the success of the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps team’s mission. Specifically engineered to sail into harm’s way, U.S. Navy amphibious warships, like LHA 6, are built for survivability, with electric and mechanical systems that are shock hardened for blast survivability. These warships have the facilities on board to store and perform the necessary maintenance on helicopters and aircraft, such as the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.
From Pier to Deployment
The U.S. Navy’s latest amphibious warship America (LHA 6) departed the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi on July 11 ready for operations to South America on her way to her home port in San Diego, California with 280 US Marines, four MV-22B Osprey and more than 1,000 Sailors. The embarked Marines are part of the Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Southern Command (SPMAGTF-South).
Along the way, the embarked Sailors and Marines will stop in several South American countries for training exercises with partner nations, beginning in Columbia.
America, the lead ship of the LHA 6 class, has an enhanced aviation capacity, capable of deploying with the F-35B Lightning II. This capability includes an enlarged hangar deck, realignment and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, a significant increase in available stowage for parts and support equipment, and increased aviation fuel capacity.
Amphibious warships have unique capabilities vital to the success of the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps team’s mission. Specifically engineered to sail into harm’s way, U.S. Navy amphibious warships, like America, are built for survivability, with electrical and mechanical systems that are shock hardened for blast survivability.
Amphibious warships have the facilities on board to store and perform the necessary maintenance on helicopters and aircraft, such as the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. They have wide band secure satellite communications, which gives them command and control capabilities, allowing them to embark an amphibious squadron or expeditionary strike group for a wide range of missions.
If called upon to carry out humanitarian and disaster relief operations, amphibious warships have the most extensive medical facilities on board of all naval platforms, second only to U.S. Navy hospital ships, as well as, water distillation capabilities.
Designed and built for survivability, these unique combatant warships deploy and support U.S. Marines anywhere in the world, in any type of conditions and on short notice.
America LHA 6 Sails Away for Voyage to West Coast
U.S. Navy amphibious warship America (LHA 6) is sailing away from Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi today on her way around South America to her homeport in San Diego, Calif. Along the way, the embarked Sailors and Marines will stop in several South American countries for training exercises with partner nations.
America is scheduled for commissioning on October 11 in San Francisco and will be based at Naval Station San Diego, Calif.
America is the lead ship of the LHA 6 class, replacing the Tarawa-class ships and has an enhanced aviation capacity, capable of deploying with the F-35B Lightning II. This capability includes an enlarged hangar deck, realignment and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, a significant increase in available stowage for parts and support equipment, and increased aviation fuel capacity.
America’s propulsion system is identical to USS Makin Island’s (LHD 8) which make them unique among U.S. Navy ships, because they are designed to run on auxiliary propulsion motors at low speeds and on gas turbines at higher speeds. This “green” propulsion system has resulted in immense fuel savings for the U.S. Navy.
Read more about U.S. Sailors and Marines that will be deployed on LHA 6: http://1.usa.gov/1zsjQ8K
Learn more about America: http://1.usa.gov/TFOaMJ
- Camera: Nikon D800
- Apeture: f/5.6
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Congratulations to Admiral Michelle Howard on her historic promotion. Throughout her career, Admiral Howard has served on and commanded U.S. Navy amphibious warships.
Admiral Michelle Howard is the first woman to be pinned with her fourth star, the first woman vice chief of naval operations, the number two officer in the U.S. Navy service, and the first African-American to attain that position.
Admiral Michelle Howard took command of amphibious warship USS Rushmore (LSD-47) in March 1999, becoming the first African-American woman to command a ship in the U.S. Navy. She commanded Amphibious Squadron 7 from May 2004 – September 2005. Deployed with Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 5, she participated in disaster relief efforts in Indonesia following a large tsunami in the area and in maritime security operations in the North Persian Gulf.
She then went on to assume command of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2 and Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 aboard amphibious warship USS Boxer (LHD 4) in April 2009. At this time, USS Boxer was the flagship for CTF 151, a multinational task force established to conduct counter-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean.
She is most notably known for her oversight of the mission to rescue MV Maersk Alabama’s top officer, Capt. Richard Phillips, after Somali pirates attacked the cargo ship, holding him hostage. She assisted in developing the plan that successfully rescued him and his crew.
Read more about Admiral Howard’s recent honor: http://1.usa.gov/TCGlGO
Watch the video of the ceremony: http://1.usa.gov/1sX43Oo
Amphibious warships enable U.S. Navy-Marine Corps teams to respond swiftly and aggressively to any type of crisis. They are the “Swiss army knives” of the U.S. Navy fleet. To learn more, visit amphibiouswarship.org
- Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
- Apeture: f/18
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No one can predict crisis, but when it occurs leading the way is a United States Marine Corps Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). MAGTFs are extremely versatile, which makes it possible for the quick and efficient deployment of Marine forces, whether by air or sea from amphibious warships. MAGTFs can vary in size and in capabilities, ranging from a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to a full size Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF). MEUs are the most common form of a MAGTF and are capable of conducting a wide variety of missions that range from forcible entry combat operations to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Amphibious warships embark, transport and deploy MEUs and their equipment which include all types of combat and logistics equipment, surface and air assault capability that include the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and the AV-8B Harrier, soon to be replaced by the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter.
In October 2013, Marines with the 31st MEU from the amphibious warships USS Essex (LHD 2), the USS Denver (LPD 9), and USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) provided disaster relief in the Philippines following a devastating super typhoon. These amphibious warships were positioned close to the coast to take advantage of the Navy-Marine Corps team’s helicopter lift capabilities. The 31st MEU joined with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), to deliver food, water and other supplies to isolated villages which were destroyed by the typhoon. The U.S. Marines and Sailors provided air support to transport tents, food and water to inaccessible areas as well as gave immediate medical aid to those who were injured.
In total, the 31st MEU flew 16 relief missions and transported more than 78,000 pounds of relief aid and 87 passengers. Six Marine helicopters flew over 55 hours to accomplish the mission of providing help to those who needed it most.
In March 2011, Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit rescued a U.S. Air Force pilot downed in Libya. Using two AV/8B Harriers, two MV-22 Ospreys and two CH-53E Super Stallions carrying a quick reaction force launched from the amphibious warship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) the Marines conducted a Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel mission to recover the pilot.
The MEU aboard an amphibious warship includes more than 2,200 Marines, including infantry, tanks, artillery, engineers, amphibious assault vehicles, a reinforced aircraft squadron and a combat logistics battalion.
Video: First to Fight: Marine Expeditionary Unit
Learn more about MEUs: http://bit.ly/1lpRdDr