GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- The future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) arrived to Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for a scheduled port visit, July 21.
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. Located on the southeast corner of Cuba, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay is about 400 air miles from Miami, Fla.
During the visit, America will take advantage of the port's location and capabilities by taking on fuel and stores to continue its transit around South America to the Western United States.
The America crew will have the opportunity to enjoy base amenities, such as its nine restaurants, Navy Exchange, recreation activities, and is also scheduled to compete in a friendly soccer game between America Sailors and personnel assigned to the base.
"Naval Station Guantanamo Bay is well-positioned to assist our Navy-Marine Corps team aboard America during our 'America Visits the Americas' transit," said Capt. Robert A. Hall Jr., America's commanding officer. "The ability to refuel and resupply prior to heading out on one of the longer legs of our journey is significant as we continue our mission around South America en route to our homeport and follow-on commissioning."
The ship completed a port visit to Cartagena, Colombia last week and is scheduled to visit Brazil, Chile and Peru while also conducting engagements with other valued partners in the area of responsibility. These nations are valued friends and partners, and visits to these ports will enhance these relationships.
America is the first ship of its class, replacing the Tawara-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 tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey and F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. The ship is scheduled to be commissioned Oct. 11 in San Francisco.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command / U.S. 4th Fleet and U.S. Marine Forces South support U.S. Southern Command's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.