The Navy’s newest amphibious assault ship, USS America (LHA 6), departed San Francisco Oct. 14 following its commissioning and marking the official conclusion of San Francisco Fleet Week 2014.
USS America was commissioned on Pier 30/32 by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus during a ceremony held on Oct. 11.
During this ceremony, Captain Robert Hall, Jr., USN, Commanding Officer, USS America, saluted Fernandez (Frank) Ponds, RDML, USN, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Three, and reported, “Sir, the ship is ready.”
During Fleet Week, the ship provided tours for more than 19,000 visitors. The ship’s sailors and marines also participated in several community outreach events at various local schools and at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Speaking to the USS America crew, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee said, “Thank you for your outstanding and dutiful service toward ensuring our country’s values of freedom and equality for all.”
The USS America, the fourth Navy ship bearing the name, is the first of a new class of amphibious assault ships. Her mission will be to embark, transport, control, insert, sustain and extract elements of a U.S. Marine Corps air-ground task force and support forces by the next generation of aircraft, the MV-22 Osprey and F-35B Joint Strike Fighters.
“How fitting to hold this momentous celebration in San Francisco, a city with such a rich maritime history and longstanding relationship with the Navy,” said Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman (D-12th) in a letter to the ship’s company.
With the order, “Man our ship and bring her to life,” issued Commanding Officer Robert A, Hall, Jr., Captain, the ship came alive to pursue her future heritage on the sea.
The ship is designed to carry 3,000 sailors and marines and to operate the latest in Marine aviation, the tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey and F-35B Joint Strike Fighter.
Lynne Pace, Sponsor, USS America, said, “The heart of this ship is found in the sailors and marines who man her rails, and in the families who stand beside you.”
For more information on USS America, go to www.public.navy.mil/surfor/lha6/Pages/default.aspx