USS Wasp Joins the U.S. Seventh Fleet
PACIFIC OCEAN — The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp entered U.S. Seventh Fleet area of operations Jan. 6, after completing nearly two months of disaster relief efforts in the Caribbean Sea, commander, Task Force 76, said in a Jan 6 release.
Wasp departed Norfolk, Va., Aug. 30, to replace USS Bonhomme Richard in Sasebo, Japan, as the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship in region.
While still in the initial phase of its transit, the ship diverted to the Caribbean Sept. 4, to assist the U.S. Virgin Islands and Dominica in the wake of Hurricane Irma and then provided assistance to Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm regarded as the worst natural disaster in the history of the American commonwealth island.
In support of relief efforts, Wasp aircraft flew 108 missions on the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico totaling 385 hours of flight time moving 1,129 total passengers along with 26,720 pounds of equipment and 1,718,200 pounds of various logistical support items, including 328,100 pounds of food and water.
Once detached from relief efforts in late October, Wasp resumed its transit to Seventh Fleet, briefly stopping in Rio de Janeiro and then transiting the Strait of Magellan as it crossed from the Atlantic Ocean into the Pacific Ocean. Wasp made a port visit to Joint Naval Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, in time for her crew to bring in the New Year ashore. The ship departed Jan. 2, to continue the journey toward Sasebo.
During the transit to Japan, Wasp crew engaged in a near-constant cycle of training to help ensure readiness for the wide-spanning missions of Seventh Fleet. The crew has actively completed drills in damage control, combat systems, aviation and casualty response. This training has been interspersed with professional and personal development such as suicide prevention, cultural appreciation and career management.
Seventh Fleet, which celebrates its 75th year in 2018, spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South. Seventh Fleet’s area of operation encompasses 36 maritime countries and 50 percent of the world’s population with between 5070 U.S. ships and submarines, 140 aircraft and approximately 20,000 Sailors in the Seventh Fleet.