The USS Wasp entered the 7th Fleet’s operations area Saturday, moving closer to its new homeport in Japan.
Navy officials announced that the amphibious-assault ship will soon pull into Sasebo Naval Base — an arrival that was delayed after the Wasp was diverted to the Caribbean in September to assist with disaster-relief efforts.
The Wasp is joining the Navy’s 7th Fleet as its forward-deployed amphibious-assault ship and will serve as the flag ship of the fleet’s amphibious forces. It’s replacing the USS Bonhomme Richard, which has been homeported in Sasebo since April 2012. The bulk of the ships in 7th Fleet’s amphibious force are based in Sasebo.
The ship departed Naval Station Norfolk, Va., last August and was en route to Japan when it was diverted to the Caribbean to assist with relief efforts in U.S. Virgin Islands and Dominica after Hurricane Irma. The Wasp was then tapped to provide aid to Puerto Rico after the island was struck by the Category 5 Hurricane Maria.