An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Feb. 4, 2021

Lightning Strikes Again Onboard USS America

By Lt. John Stevens

PHILIPPINE SEA -- USS America (LHA 6), the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious assault ship, is at sea this month operating with F-35B Lightning II fighter aircraft from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121.

“Operating the F-35B from our most advanced ship in the America Strike Group brings an extraordinary capability to the Navy and Marine Corps Team as we operate forward in the Indo-Pacific,” said Rear Adm. Fred Kacher, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7. “The USS America-31st Marine Expeditionary Unit team truly embodies what the Chief of Naval Operations terms Integrated American Naval Power, and these Sailors and Marines are already making a difference as we sail, fly and operate in the most critical maritime arena in the world today.”

Sailors and Marines aboard America conduct flight operations in support of 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) missions, ensuring this next-generation strike weapons system is ready to deliver effects as part of the integrated Navy-Marine Corps team, increasing America’s ability to prevail in day-to-day competition, control the seas, strengthen alliances and partnerships, and develop a modernized naval force as a strategic asset in the Indo-Pacific.

“The joint strike fighter is unmatched in theater – nothing even comes close!” said Capt. Richard LeBron, Commodore of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11. “There is no better aviation platform to support 7th Fleet’s mission to ensure the United States can freely operate wherever and whenever it must, in alignment with international norms, standards, rules, and laws.”

The forward-deployed USS America ESG, which comprises the ships of PHIBRON 11 coupled with the air and ground combat elements of the 31st MEU, as well as landing craft and personnel from Naval Beach Unit 7, relies on F-35B’s enhanced battle vision for optimal command-and-control of multiple mission platforms throughout the Indo-Pacific. This blue-green team projects sea power from all domains to preserve freedom in the maritime commons, while strengthening partnerships with vital allies throughout the region.

“The F-35B is one of the many innovative warfighting tools our lethal professionals of the 31st MEU bring to the America team, and once again, I am eager to work with them as we innovate and operate across the 7th Fleet area of operations,” said Capt. Ken Ward, commanding officer of USS America. “Overland, or over water – the fusion of speed, agility, stealth, and sensors unlike any other fighter in history – it provides the warfare commander an unparalleled advantage in the battlespace.”

Col. Michael Nakonieczny, commanding officer of the 31st MEU, reiterated this revolutionary aircraft will have positive and revolutionary impacts on the joint force and regional allies. “Incorporating the F-35s of VMFA-121 into our air combat element during this at-sea period provides the Expeditionary Strike Group the ability to dominate the air and sea domains, and increases the speed at which we can respond to the needs of our warfighters throughout the Indo-Pacific.”

“Our air combat element, reconnaissance teams, and rifle squads, imbued with our warfighting ethos and enabled by the combat power and combat logistical support of the ESG, are a dominating and decisive force on any battlefield against any adversary,” said Nakonieczny.

America, the lead ship of the America ESG, along with the 31st MEU, is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility to enhance interoperability with allies and partners, and serve as a ready response force to defend peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.




German Air Force exercise to begin July 8 in Alaska
A German Air Force PA-200 Tornado flies over Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, for German Air Force-led deployment Pacific Skies 24, June 14, 2024. Aircraft and personnel will conduct low-level flying training as part of the deployment. Pacific Skies is a combination of several exercises in the Indo-Pacific theater in which German, French and Spanish air forces participate with U.S. forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman J. Michael Peña)
July 2, 2024 - Arctic Defender, a German Air Forces-led exercise, is scheduled to begin July 8 with primary flight operations over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex and is scheduled to run through July 18...

July 1, 2024 - III Marine Expeditionary Force received a shipment of Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACVs) at Naha Military Port on June 29, 2024. The ACV is an eight-wheeled armored personnel carrier, designed to fully upgrade the Marine...

USINDOPACOM Statement on DPRK Missile Launches
June 30, 2024 - We are aware of the DPRK’s ballistic missile launches and are consulting closely with the Republic of Korea and Japan, as well as other regional allies and partners. The United States condemns these actions and calls on the...

USS Springfield Returns Home to Naval Station Guam Following Indo-Pacific Deployment
NAVAL BASE GUAM (June 29, 2024) – The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Springfield (SSN 761) transits Apra Harbor, Naval Base Guam, June 29, 2024. Springfield returns to its homeport after completing a 4-month western pacific deployment. Assigned to Commander, Submarine Squadron 15 at Polaris Point, Naval Base Guam, Springfield is one of four Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarines forward-deployed in the Pacific. Renowned for their unparalleled speed, endurance, stealth, and mobility, the Los Angeles-class submarine serves as the backbone of the Navy's submarine force, ensuring readiness and agility in safeguarding maritime interests around the world. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. James Caliva)
June 29, 2024 - The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Springfield (SSN 761) returned to its homeport June 29, after completing a routine deployment in the Indo-Pacific, reaffirming its vital role in maintaining security and...

3rd MLR concludes Philippine Summer Exercise Series
A U.S. Marine with 3d Marine Littoral Regiment, 3d Marine Division, receives a lei from a USO volunteer during a homecoming event at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, June 26, 2024. The homecoming event was held for the Marines returning from the Philippines following their support in Exercise Balikatan 24 and Marine Aviation Support Activity 24. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Grace Gerlach)
June 28, 2024 - U.S. Marines with 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, concluded Marine Aviation Support Activity 24, the third of three Philippine-led bilateral exercises with 3rd MLR participation spanning the past three...