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America Arrives in Israel
The America-class amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), flagship of the America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), and embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Eilat, Israel, for a scheduled port visit Oct. 5, 2017.
As the ship’s first visit to the country on its maiden deployment, the port visit serves to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations as the two nations work together for a stable and secure region.
"The Marines and Sailors have been working tirelessly around the clock for their nation as the region’s crisis response and contingency force,” said U.S. Marine Col. Joseph Clearfield, commanding officer of the 15th MEU. “Working along with our partners, this Navy/Marine Corps team is the best amphibious task force in the world."
Following their participation in Alligator Dagger 2017, Sailors and Marines will have a chance to rest and experience Israel.
“By visiting these ports it helps us to demonstrate our commitment to stability and maritime security in this vital region of the world,” said Capt. Daniel Nowicki, executive officer of America. “The crew is looking forward to some well-deserved time to relax.”
While in port, Sailors and Marines will have the opportunity to participate in tours and experience the country’s rich history and culture.
“Israel has always been a place I’ve wanted to travel and I’m looking forward to expanding my exposure and understanding of different cultures,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Andres Carlon, “This is an opportunity not everyone gets to have and I’m very happy to be here.”
Previous visits to Israel by U.S. naval vessels this year included the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) and USS Ross (DDG 71), the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) and the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19).
The America ARG, under the tactical control of Amphibious Squadron 3, consists of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) and the Harpers Ferry-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52). In addition to the 15th MEU, the America ARG is operating with the “Wildcards” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23, and detachments from Assault Craft Unit 5, Naval Beach Group 1, Beachmaster Unit 1, Fleet Surgical Team 1 and Tactical Air Control Squadron 11.
America is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners and preserve the freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce in the region.
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