The “new” USS America (LHA-6) is the fourth warship to bear the name of our nation. This state of the art amphibious assault ship is not scheduled to be commissioned until October, but our American Warrior listeners receive a special preview.
Calling in live from aboard the USS America are Master Chief Steve Kennedy and Electricians Mate Third Class Jacob Smith.
Chief Kennedy is the Senior Enlisted Engineer for the USS America and is responsible for ensuring the engineering plant is running properly. His previous tour was as the Command Chief at the Navy Operational Support Center Tucson. His promotion ceremony took place on the diamond at the Tucson Padres game and also got engaged to his wife at that same baseball game.
Mr. Smith is a Tucsonan who attended high school and college in Tucson. He is responsible for the power plant and the central safety program aboard the ship.
The USS America displaces over 45,000 tons and is nearly the length of three football fields. She is conventionally powered by gas turbines and can achieve a speed in excess of 20 knots (25 miles per hour). With a full complement, the ship will carry over 1,600 Marines. Her aircraft capabilities include the AV-8B Harrier, MV-22B Osprey, F-35B Lighting II, the Viper attack helicopter and both the Super Stallion and Knighthawk transport helicopters.
The original USS America was the first ship of the line built for the newly formed Continental Navy in May of 1777. The second USS America (ID-3006) was originally built as a German passenger liner but was seized by the United States and used as a troop transport during World War I. The third ship to bear the name was a Kitty Hawk class aircraft carrier (CV-66) that served from 1961 – 2009.