Amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), flagship of the US Navy’s amphibious fleet in the Asia Pacific and the centerpiece of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7, has integrated the Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) for joint operations.
America, the Navy’s newest amphibious assault ship and Gabrielle Giffords, the fifth Independence-class littoral combat ship, joined forces while operating in the South China Sea.
The two warships operated together exercising command and control and executing tactical maneuver. This is the first time the two ships have worked together.
“Integrating Gabrielle Giffords into the America ESG for this underway period adds to one of the ESG’s greatest strengths – our versatility,” said Rear Adm. Fred Kacher, commander, ESG 7. “By combining America’s lethality provided by the Navy-Marine Corps Team with the speed and maneuverability of a littoral combat ship, we’re forging new ways to operate together in one of the most important regions in the world.”
America, with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 265 (Reinforced) is conducting operations in the South China Sea after completing Exercise Cobra Gold in the Kingdom of Thailand, March 7. Gabrielle Giffords is on rotational deployment in the US Indo-Pacific Command.
USS America is stationed in Japan as part of the US 7th Fleet forward-deployed amphibious force in Sasebo. The ship arrived in Japan in December last year, together with the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18).