USS AMERICA in Valparaiso, Chile

For the last couple of days, USS AMERICA has been showing the flag and building friendships in Valparaiso. Embarked sailors and Marines have participated in exercises with their Chilean counterparts, crewmembers contributed work in a local children’s’ home, high public and military officials have already enjoyed American hospitality aboard. No reports yet of a soccer match!

You can see a few photos of the ship and embarked aircraft in this collection from Chile.

This visit represents something of a historical circle, as the earliest US Pacific Squadron, made up typically of 4 or 5 sailing men of war, made Valparaiso their home port from the 1820s until the Mare Island Navy Yard opened in San Francisco Bay, in 1856.

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USS AMERICA Transits the Strait of Magellan

Continuing her trip from Pascagoula to her 11 October commissioning in San Francisco, USS AMERICA passed around the southern tip of South America on 19 – 20 August.

USS America transits Strait of Magellan

The Naval News Service reported that few US warships go “the long way around” these days.  The trip features breathtaking views but also the potential for dangerous weather. Chilean Navy personnel, experienced in navigating these waters, accompanied the ship’s crew during the transit.

Just before this part of her trip, SECNAV Mabus and US Ambassador to Chile Michael Hammer made a call on the ship. Ship Commanding Officer Robert Hall noted that his crew demonstrated notable professionalism during this visit by high officials.

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Commissioning Ceremony Updates

Invitations: at the Commissioning Committee’s meeting last week, we learned from Navy officials that the invitation packages will be going into the mail in about two weeks.

Parking: parking for the event will be on Pier 80. The hours, on Saturday only (the day of the Commissioning), will be from 7.30 am to 3.30 pm. Free transport to Pier 30/32 by shuttle buses will be provided. We will post the shuttle schedule when it’s firmed up.

Special Postal Facilities: the postal service will have a booth set up on Pier 30-32. There are plans to have a special stamp cancellation to make the commissioning of USS AMERICA.

Oakland Marriott City Center Link: for people interested in more information on the Marriott in Oakland that’s offering special room rates, here is a link: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/local-things-to-do/oakdt-oakland-marriott-city-center/

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Reservations Extended for Crew / Family Affordable Hotel Rooms

The Commissioning Committee has learned that the Oakland Marriott City Center has extended the cut-off date for reservations in its block of reduced rate rooms for Commissioning crew and their families until 11 September.

The room rate (single or double) is $146, and rooms are available from 9 through 14 October. The reservations phone number is 1.800.991.7249. Ask for the USS AMERICA guest room block. San Francisco Fleet Week is going on during this time period and local hotel rates are generally significantly higher than those on offer here.

The Oakland Marriott City Center is a short walk from the local subway (BART), which will whisk you to the Embarcadero station in San Francisco in about 15 minutes. The Commissioning site on Piers 30-32 is a 20 minute walk from the Embarcadero BART.

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USS AMERICA Departs Rio

USS America continues her goodwill tour while en route to her San Francisco commissioning on 11 October.

The Naval News Services reports: “The future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) departed Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug. 9 after a four-day port visit.

This was the crew’s third stop on the ship’s maiden transit, “America Visits the Americas” as the ship continues to make its way from Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi to its homeport of San Diego. The crew first visited Cartagena, Colombia and then Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

While in Brazil, the ship hosted a reception in the ship’s hangar bay for more than 450 guests. The distinguished guests included Liliana Ayalde, U.S. ambassador to Brazil, as well as senior Brazilian, U.S. government and military officials.

During the visit, the ship’s military and civilian crew had the opportunity to experience their host nation and to serve as goodwill ambassadors.

“The city was all that I dreamed it would be,” said Quartermaster 2nd Class Armando Diaz. “Myself and many of my shipmates enjoyed visiting the ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue as well as the beach, great food and culture.”

While moored at the Port of Rio de Janeiro, the crew participated in several community relations (COMREL) projects with local Brazilian military members.
Twenty-five Sailors teamed up with members of the Brazilian Navy at Albert Schweitzer Municipal School Aug. 6, for a COMREL project. Together they painted the gate and wall in front of the school, and played soccer with the students.

The two groups met up again Aug. 8 at the United States Municipal School where they made minor repairs to the school, helped build shelving in the classrooms and played with the students during recess. America Sailors also presented soccer balls to students throughout both school visits to enjoy.

America’s soccer team also played a friendly match against the local Brazilian Naval team. The two teams met in the center of the field and four players from each team unfolded the flags from their respective countries. With both flags displayed, the national anthems from both countries were sung by each team. After the game, members from America and Brazilian teams exchanged mementos.

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Raul Garciavillavicencio, USS America soccer team player, said playing against the local soccer team was a great experience. The local Brazilian Navy soccer team practiced regularly with the national Brazilian team, who recently played in the “World Cup. It was a once in a lifetime experience to be able to play a team of their caliber,” said Garciavillavicencio.

America is also scheduled to visit Chile and Peru where the crew will continue enriching partnerships through a variety of interactions with the host nations.

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.

America is currently traveling through the U.S. Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility on her maiden transit, “America Visits the Americas”. America is the first ship of its class, replacing the Tarawa-class of amphibious assault ships. As the next generation “big-deck” amphibious assault 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.”

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USS AMERICA Visits Trinidad and Tobago

Continuing her friendship tour en route To her October commissioning in San Francisco, on 28 July, the ship and her crew hosted military and civilian officials of the Caribbean nation, while aboard, the officials participated in round table discussions with US Naval and Marine Corps leaders, emphasizing such topics as humanitarian relief and disaster assistance.

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USS AMERICA (LHA 6) Showing the Flag en Route to San Francisco

sailors and osprey in Colombia

Visitors view a V-22 Osprey aboard USS AMERICA during her port visit in Cartagena, Colombia

USS AMERICA, due to be commissioned into the navy on 11 October in San Francisco, left her construction yard in Pascagoula, MS on 11 July. On her way from east coast to California, the ship will make several visits. The first stop on the ship’s maiden voyage was at the Colombian city of Cartagena. During her three day visit (16 – 19 July), crewmembers delivered 52 pallets of medical supplies and toys for sick children of the area. Local civilian and military dignitaries visited the ship, and teams from the ship and a Colombian navy base enjoyed a soccer “friendly”. Needless to say, the US team did not win, but it is reported that a fine time was had by all.

Her next stop was at the US Navy Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Once again, soccer

Sailors and Marines from USS AMERICA meet their counterparts from the US Navy Base at Guantanamo Bay in a friendly match.

Sailors and Marines from USS AMERICA meet their counterparts from the US Navy Base at Guantanamo Bay in a friendly match.

seems to have played a friendly role, as crew from the ship and from the base competed in a match. No official reports of the score of that game are available.

AMERICA will make visits in Brazil, Chile and Peru as she proceeds toward her commissioning site. Her San Francisco arrival date has not yet been announced.

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USS AMERICA Departs Pascagoula

Today, 11 July, USS AMERICA (LHA 6) departed Pascagoula. She’ll arrive in San Francisco in time for her 11 October Commissioning.

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Invitation Requests System is Closed

Navy authorities who manage the invitations and tickets to the Commissioning Ceremony tell us that we have reached the maximum number of requests that we can accommodate. Accordingly, we regret to announce that our Invitations Page is now closed.

Please check back from time to time for updated information on hotels, ferries and other items of interest to people who have submitted their invitations requests prior to this time.

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It’s Official: Navy Secretary Mabus Sets 11 October as USS AMERICA Commissioning Date

With this document, FINAL MABUSsigned 4 June 2014, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus officially designates 11 October as the day USS AMERICA (LHA 6) will be Commissioned into the United States Navy.

For those who have been holding off on making airline and hotel reservations to attend the Commissioning Ceremony, you can now do so without fear that the date will be changed.

With that, we look forward to seeing you in San Francisco on 11 October!

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