US Navy forward-deploying USS America, USS New Orleans to Japan

Amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) and landing platform dock USS New Orleans (LPD 18) will be permanently stationed at Sasebo, Japan, as two US Navy ships already in Japan are returning to their US homeports for overhauls.

According to an announcement from April 26, guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) will shift its homeport to San Diego for its midlife modernization and the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) will shift its homeport to Norfolk to undergo scheduled maintenance.

Wasp is returning to the US for repairs after arriving in Sasebo, Japan, in January 2018. USS Stethem had been part of the US 7th Fleet since 2005.

USS America is capable of supporting the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35B) as part of an embarked US Marine Corps Air Combat Element (ACE).

“The security environment in the Indo-Pacific requires that the US Navy station the most capable ships forward. This posture allows the most rapid response times possible for maritime and joint forces, and brings our most capable ships with the greatest amount of striking power and operational capability to bear in the timeliest manner,” the navy said.

America will provide the Marine Corps with a means of combat operations utilizing the newest technologically advanced aircraft Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35B Lightning II. New Orleans is capable of ship-to-shore movement by tilt-rotor and helicopter. In addition to combat operations, both ships can conduct humanitarian-assistance operations.

Photo: US Navy file photo of USS America