Uruguay Officials Pay Visit to USS America

Uruguay Officials Pay Visit to USS America

Forty high-ranking civilian and military officials from the South American nation of Uruguay visited the future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) Aug. 13 to participate in a key leadership engagement.


Distinguished visitors included U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay, Julissa Reynoso; Deputy Chief of Mission, Brad Freden; members of the Uruguay House of Representatives and Senate Defense Committee; and three Uruguay military flag officers.

Once aboard, the guests were welcomed by Rear Adm. Frank L. Ponds, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3, and America leadership.

“Our journey around South America has been about partnerships and engagements with our friends and our neighbors,” said Ponds. “The United States and Uruguay have a long and meaningful relationship based on the shared values of fairness, respect, dignity and compassion; realized through a fair and transparent democratic process. Today reinforces the mutual commitment and cooperation we share as navies and nations in ensuring the security of our maritime commons; advancing peace keeping operations; addressing transnational threats and; carrying-out humanitarian relief and disaster relief missions.”

America Sailors and embarked Marines from Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) South provided the distinguished visitors with a tour of the ship’s vehicle stowage area, hangar bay, medical spaces and flight deck. During the tour, Marines showcased their humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) capabilities available on board, including their transportable lightweight water purification system.

Guests had an opportunity to walk through the ship’s medical spaces as well and observe America’s diverse medical and dental services, including two operating rooms, an intensive care unit, 23-bed ward and bed-surge capabilities.

Following the tour, guests and shipboard leadership had lunch in the ship’s wardroom, and participated in a presentation highlighting America’s characteristics, capabilities and ability to support HADR efforts.

America is currently traveling through the U.S. Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility on her maiden transit, “America Visits the Americas”. America is the first ship of its class, replacing the Tarawa-class of amphibious assault ships. As the next generation “big-deck” amphibious ship, America is optimized for aviation, capable of supporting current and future aircraft such as the MV-22 Osprey and the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. The ship is scheduled to be ceremoniously commissioned Oct. 11 in San Francisco.

Press Release, August 15, 2014; Image: US Navy