April 26 (UPI) -- Two Navy ships will be forward-deployed to Japan while two others will return to the United States for maintenance, the Navy announced on Friday.
The amphibious assault ship USS America and San Antonio-class landing transport dock USS New Orleans will join the U.S. 7th Fleet forward-deployed naval forces in Sasebo, Japan. The guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem will travel from Japan to San Diego, its new home port, for scheduled modernization, and the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp will shift its home port to Norfolk, Va., to undergo scheduled maintenance.
"The security environment in the Indo-Pacific requires that the U.S. Navy station the most capable ships forward," the Navy said in a statement. "This posture allows the most rapid response times possible for maritime and joint forces, and brings our most capable ships with the greatest amount of striking power and operational capability to bear in the timeliest manner."
The changes were announced a day after a change of command aboard the USS New Orleans.
Capt. Kenneth A. Strong turned over command of the ship to Capt. P. Scott Miller in a ceremony on the ship's flight deck. The ship is capable of ship-to-shore movement by helicopters and tilt-rotor planes, and both ships can conduct humanitarian-assistance operations.