Sept. 5 (UPI) -- The USS Wasp has departed from the U.S. 7th Fleet after less than two years deployed in Japan in a home port shift with the USS America set to replace it later this year.
The Navy announced Thursday that the USS America will replace the Wasp as part of the 7th Fleet forward-deployed amphibious naval forces in Sasebo, Japan, later this year. The America will be accompanied by a landing platform dock ship USS New Orleans.
The amphibious assault ship Wasp departed U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations Wednesday, bound for Naval Station Norfolk, Va.
The Wasp and its crew arrived in Sasebo in January 2018 and made history as the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy with the F-35B, the Marine Corps variant of the stealthy fifth generation fighter aircraft, which began operating on board with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit a few months later.
The vessel also participated in Exercise Balikatan with the Philippine military and exercise Talisman Sabre with the Australian Defense Force and additional forces from Japan, Canada, New Zealand and United Kingdom.
The amphibious ship also engaged in missions with numerous partners and allies to support security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
"What our Wasp sailors have accomplished here over almost two years, given the operational tempo, and the nature of our multi-pronged mission, is overwhelming, and it's difficult not to constantly shine with pride," Wasp Command Master Kevin Guy said. "When you consider that we have a large number of sailors thousands of miles away from their families and friends -- their level of dedication under these circumstances truly exemplifies the Navy core values of honor, courage and commitment."
The Wasp had replaced the USS Bonhomme Richard in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations