The large land mass in the Western Hemisphere consisting of northern and southern continents originally connected by an isthmus, but now separated by the Panama Canal. Although discovered by Christopher Columbus, America is named for Amerigo Vespucci who first recognized it as a new continent. The term America is often used loosely to designate the United States of America.
The fourth U.S. Navy ship named America. SchoonerAmerica was never commissioned into the Continental Navy and was transferred to the French Navy in 1782 (http://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/a/america-i.html). In addition, America, a ship-rigged whaler, was purchased by the Navy on 8 November 1861, at New Bedford, Mass., as part of its "Stone Fleet." Filled with stones, America's crew sailed her to Charleston, S.C., and sank her at the harbor mouth on 19 and 20 December 1861 to block the channel into that Confederate port. Sometime after she was purchased by the Union Navy on 9 December 1864 for service in the Civil War -- and probably before she was commissioned early in January 1865 -- screw tug America was renamed Periwinkle (q.v.). The first America to fly U.S. Navy colors was thus a racing schooner that served briefly under Confederate colors (1861-1862), and then in the U.S. Navy (with interruptions of service) from 1862-1873 and 1921-1945 (http://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/a/america-i.html). The second America, a steel-hulled, twin-screw, steam passenger liner, sailed under the Hamburg-America Line as Amerika from 1905-1917, was seized by the Navy on 25 July 1917, renamed America (Id. No. 3006) on 1 September 1917, served as a troop transport from 1917-1920, was renamed Edmund B. Alexander in 1940, and rendered served with the Army from 1940-1957 (http://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/a/america-ii.html). The third America, an attack aircraft carrier (CVA-66), was reclassified to an aircraft carrier (CV-66) on 30 June 1975, and served from 1965-1996 (http://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/a/america-iii.html).
(LHA-6: displacement 44,971; length 844'; beam 106'; draft 26'; speed 20 knots; complement 1,204, troop capacity 1,687 (+184 surge); armament two RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers, two RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile launchers, two Phalanx Close-in Weapon System mounts, and 14 .50 caliber machine guns; aircraft (may vary according to mission but typically) 12 Bell Boeing MV-22B Ospreys, six Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning IIs, four Sikorsky CH-53K Super Stallions, seven Bell AH-1Z Vipers/UH-1Y Venoms, and two Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawks; class America)
The fourth America (LHA-6) was laid down on 17 July 2009 at Pascagoula, Miss., by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems; launched on 4 June 2012; sponsored by Mrs. Lynne Pace, wife of Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace, USMC (Ret.); and was commissioned on 11 October 2014, at San Francisco, Calif., Capt. Robert A. Hall Jr., in command.
Dark blue and gold are the colors traditionally associated with the Navy, representing the sea and excellence. Red conveys patriotism. The red chevron edged yellow further symbolizes the Marine Corps enlisted rank insignia and signifies the loyalty, dedication and fighting spirit the Marines bring in support of America’s amphibious mission. The five stars represent the battle stars earned by attack aircraft carrier America (CVA-66) during the Vietnam War. The hand and torch, adapted from the Statue of Liberty, symbolize enlightenment and the United States of America’s role as the “Beacon of Liberty.” The gold cantons indicate achievement and honor America’s rich naval heritage. On the left, the coiled snake is reminiscent of the Gadsden flag, the first flag carried into battle by the Continental Marine Corps; on the right, the trident denotes sea power and symbolizes the three previous warships named America.
The eagle with red, white and blue shield reflects the Coat of Arms of the United States of America with its wings elevated to signify the aviation capability and heritage of America. The eagle further symbolizes the image of the Navy enlisted rank insignia and represents their service to America with honor, courage, and commitment. The olive branch and arrows symbolize America’s readiness to conduct either wartime or peacetime operations. The six arrows indicate America’s hull number, first in the America class.
The crossed Navy officer sword and Marine Corps officer mameluke represent leadership and attest to the unity and teamwork between the two Sea Services, the foundation for success of America’s amphibious warfare missions.
The phrase “Bello Vel Pace Paratus” (Prepared in War or in Peace), derived from the Second Committee’s recommendation for a motto for the Great Seal of the United States in 1780.
The coat of arms as blazoned in full color on a white oval surmounting a red oval edged white, superimposed by a white oval voided and bearing 50 dark blue stars representing the Military Service Flag in tribute to the unwavering support and sacrifice of military families across the nation. The top star is gold, edged with a thin blue border in honor of those who have sacrificed all in defense of America’s freedom, all within a dark blue designation band, edged with a gold roped border and bearing the name America at top and LHA-6 at base, in gold letters.
Detailed history under construction.
Mark L. Evans