Sailors, Marines aboard USS America spend holidays in Singapore
SAN DIEGO — The San Diego-based Navy amphibious assault ship USS America was operating in the western Pacific Friday following a holiday visit to Singapore as a long deployment starts to wind down.
The America and two other ships, the amphibious transport dock USS San Diego and amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor, left San Diego on July 7. Since then, the sailors and Marines of the Camp Pendleton-based 15 Marine Expeditionary Unit have operated in the western Pacific and Indian Oceans, the Middle East and waters off Africa.
Early in their deployment, the America took part in a search for survivors after the destroyer USS John McCain collided with an oil tanker in the South China Sea. Ten sailors aboard the warship were killed and the vessel was heavily damaged.
In Singapore, sailors visited Universal Studios and the zoo; participated in various sporting events and served meals at a soup kitchen, according to the Navy.
“Giving back to those that need extra help around the holidays, no matter where you are in the world, is always a good thing to do,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Rio Fields, from USS America’s weapons department. “We had a good time helping the locals that were also there taking time out of their day to give a little back to those that need it.”
They also enjoyed a holiday meal aboard ship. The Navy said it was the first time many crew members were away from home on Christmas.
“It was really great that we were able to be in port for the holidays,” said Cpl. Emmanuel Carrera, assigned to the 15th MEU. “It gave us time to relax, make phone calls to family and friends back home, and enjoy all (Singapore) has to offer.”
The Navy didn’t specify when the vessels would arrive back in San Diego.