The U.S. Navy’s amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for a final port call en route to her new homeport of Sasebo, Japan, Dec. 28.
Following its return from the Wasp’s first deployment in more than a decade, the ship entered a six-month maintenance availability, and proceeded to a compressed work-up schedule in preparation for the upcoming transit to Japan. Wasp departed Norfolk, Virginia, Aug. 30, but was diverted to the Caribbean in the wake of hurricanes Irma and Maria, Sept. 4. The crew spent the next two months providing humanitarian assistance to the U.S. Virgin Islands and the island nation of Dominca, and worked extensively to assist with repairing the devastated infrastructure of Puerto Rico.
The visit in Hawaii provides the crew a tangible progression for a homeport shift that has been nearly two years in the making.
While in port, the crew will have the opportunity to enjoy some well-deserved liberty; they will also load stores and make preparations for the final leg of their journey to Sasebo, where they will relieve USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) as the Amphibious Force 7th Fleet flagship.
Wasp is the 10th United States naval ship to bear the name, and the first ship of the LHD class. The ship is a low-draft, mission-focused, ocean-going vessel, which as a part of the surface fleet has the ability to counter and outpace evolving threats both independently or within a network of surface combatants. Its broad spectrum of both flight deck and well deck capabilities make the ship ideal for amphibious and aerial combat operations, as well as the ideal platform for humanitarian relief scenarios.
The upcoming homeport shift to the 7th Fleet area of responsibility will afford Wasp the opportunity to demonstrate her newest capability – showcasing the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter as it operates for the first time in an operational environment overseas.
U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces throughout the Pacific theater of operations in coordination with U.S. 7th Fleet to promote ongoing peace, security, and stability.
Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet