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USS America Begins Two-Month Journey To Home Port San Diego This Week (Video)

A Look Aboard The Future USS America

The future USS America is scheduled to embark on its maiden voyage Thursday, leaving the Ingalls Shipbuilding shipyard in Pascagoula for its new home port in San Diego, according the Mississippi Sun Herald.

The 844-foot-long amphibious assault ship is too large to fit through the Panama Canal, so the USS America has to take the long way. Lt. Col. George Hasseltine, the commander of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-South, told Stars and Stripes that Marines and sailors from Camp Pendleton have deployed to keep the ship safe as it transits around South America:

Roughly 70 percent of the unit’s command element, including Hasseltine, came from the Pendleton-based 1st Reconnaissance Battalion.

Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 13 make up the logistics element, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion is the ground combat element and a handful of Ospreys and support Marines from a North Carolina-based unit will be the aviation element.
Lance Cpl. Michael Baldi of Camp Pendleton told Stars and Stripes he's excited about the journey ahead of him:
“We’re getting the sweetest deal. A lot of people were fighting for this.”

America is slated to be commissioned in San Francisco on Oct. 11, 2014.