US military newspaper Stars and Stripes reports that the USS Wasp and its strike group steamed away from Okinawa on Monday, heading out for its first patrol in the Indo-Pacific region since its homeporting in Japan earlier this year.
The multi-ship strike group has been sailing near Okinawa after leaving its base in Sasebo, Japan earlier this month.
The Wasp is an amphibious assault ship designed as a small aircraft carrier. It recently received a group of F-35Bs in the first official deployment of the advanced stealth fighter aboard a US Navy ship. The F-35B is the vertical takeoff, maritime version of the F-35.
The Wasp recently completed a “ready-for-sea assessment” operation during which F-35B Lightning IIs landed aboard the vessel for the first time.
“More than 2,300 members of the Okinawa-based 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit are embarked with the strike group, which includes the 844-foot Wasp, the guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey, the dock-landing ship USS Ashland and the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay,” Stars and Stripes reported.
“During the patrol, sailors and Marines – who are trained to conduct amphibious assaults, seize airfields, reinforce embassies, evacuate civilians and respond to disasters – will learn to work together,” according to a US Navy statement.