USS America on maiden visit to Israel

In another first on its maiden deployment, the US Navy’s America-class amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) arrived in Eilat, Israel, for a port visit on October 5.

The flagship of the America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) is on its first ever visit to the country.

“The marines and sailors have been working tirelessly around the clock for their nation as the region’s crisis response and contingency force,” said U.S. Marine Col. Joseph Clearfield, commanding officer of the 15th MEU. “Working along with our partners, this Navy/Marine Corps team is the best amphibious task force in the world.”

Following their participation in Alligator Dagger 2017, sailors and marines will have a chance to rest and experience Israel.

“By visiting these ports it helps us to demonstrate our commitment to stability and maritime security in this vital region of the world,” said Capt. Daniel Nowicki, executive officer of America. “The crew is looking forward to some well-deserved time to relax.”

Previous visits to Israel by US naval vessels this year included the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) and USS Ross (DDG 71), the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) and the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19).

The America ARG, under the tactical control of Amphibious Squadron 3, consists of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) and the Harpers Ferry-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52). In addition to the 15th MEU, the America ARG is operating with the “Wildcards” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23, and detachments from Assault Craft Unit 5, Naval Beach Group 1, Beachmaster Unit 1, Fleet Surgical Team 1 and Tactical Air Control Squadron 11.