ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Eleven officers from Marinha do Brasil (Brazilian navy) and Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais (Brazilian marine corps) visited the future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) while operating off the coast of Brazil, Aug. 1-5.
The program provided an opportunity for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps team to interact and train with Brazilian naval forces, promoting and building on an already strong partnership.
Each Brazilian officer was paired with a "running mate," a U.S. Navy officer of equal pay grade, who escorted them around the ship between evolutions conducted throughout the visit.
"We wanted to make sure they had a great experience while they were aboard America," said Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Rank, program coordinator and lead running mate. "We came up with some objectives and created a qualification that would help guide them around the ship."
Objectives for the riders were laid out in a tailored personnel qualification standard (PQS) with an emphasis on the surface navy, aviation and Marine Corps. In order to complete the PQS, ship riders went on tours of different compartments and areas of the ship and experienced various evolutions, such as flight operations, a general quarters drill, the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, standing a U.S. Navy watch and enjoying recreation events like an ice cream social.
"We had a lot of fun," said Brazilian Lt. Bruno Fernando Lima Barreiros. "The general quarters drill was the great point of my time here."
The Brazilian riders also had the chance to interact with the U.S. Marines while on their visit, tour light armored vehicles and view various ground combat weapons displays.
The visit closed out with a dinner hosted by Rear Adm. Frank L. Ponds, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 3.
America's officers will visit a Brazilian ship in the coming days with the hopes of expanding on the lessons learned from this trip.
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 ceremoniously commissioned Oct. 11 in San Francisco.