Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced November 9 that the name of the next America-class amphibious assault ship will be USS Bougainville (LHA-8). The naming ceremony took place at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
USS Bougainville (LHA-8) will be the second ship to be named after Bougainville, an island in the northern Solomons, which was the location of a World War II campaign in 1943-1944 during which allies secured a strategic airfield from Japan. Success at Bougainville isolated all Japanese forces left in the Solomons.
The first USS Bougainville (CVE-100) was an escort carrier that was launched in 1944, a year after the Bougainville campaign began. It was decommissioned for the first time in 1946. It was then brought back into service for five years before earning two battle stars for its service in World War II and being struck from the naval register in 1960.
Amphibious assault ships maintain presence by serving as the cornerstone of amphibious readiness groups/expeditionary strike groups.
Amphibious warships are designed to support the Marine Corps tenets of Operational Maneuver from the Sea (OMFTS) and Ship to Objective Maneuver (STOM). They must be capable of sailing into harm’s way and enable rapid combat power buildup ashore in the face of opposition. Because of their inherent capabilities, these ships have been and will continue to be called upon to also support humanitarian and other contingency missions on short notice. The United States maintains the largest and most capable amphibious force in the world.
USS Bougainville (LHA-8) is the first Flight I ship of the America class and will reincorporate a well deck to increase operational flexibility. Bougainville (LHA-8) will be built by Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc., in Pascagoula, Mississippi.