USS Green Bay (LPD 20). (U.S. Navy file photo)

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - The U.S. Navy announced today plans to send one of its newest amphibious transport dock ships to Sasebo, Japan, demonstrating the United States' commitment to the defense of Japan and the security and stability of the vital Asia-Pacific.

The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) will join U.S. 7th Fleet in February 2015. She will replace the Austin-class USS Denver (LPD 9), which is the Navy's oldest ship on active duty next the USS Constitution, serving since 1968.

Green Bay is a member of the latest amphibious transport dock (LPD) class and represents a significant improvement in capability for the fleet. She is equipped with an advanced command and control suite; increased lift capacity with substantial increases in vehicle and cargo carrying capability; and advanced ship survivability features. The ship supports the rapid transfer of personnel and equipment via the landing craft and MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, making this ship a critical element for amphibious ready groups and expeditionary strike groups.

Denver will prepare for decommissioning and transit to Pearl Harbor in the summer of 2014 for final decommissioning in September 2014.

The amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), homeported in San Diego, will proceed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility to mitigate the gap in amphibious presence until Green Bay's arrival.

This ship rotation does not necessitate any changes to base facilities in either San Diego, Sasebo, or Pearl Harbor.

The United States values Japan's contributions to the peace, security and stability of the Indo-Asia-Pacific and its long-term commitment and hospitality in hosting U.S. forces forward deployed there. These forces, along with their counterparts in the Japan Self-Defense Forces, make up the core capabilities needed by the alliance to meet our common strategic objectives.

USS Denver (LPD 9). (U.S. Navy file photo)