Sailors aboard the future USS America (LHA 6) hold the American flag for an aerial photo as they pass under the Golden Gate Bridge. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Vladimir Ramos)

SAN FRANCISCO - The Navy's newest amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) arrived in San Francisco, Oct. 6, in preparation for its commissioning ceremony on Oct. 11 during San Francisco Fleet Week.

During the port visit, America Sailors are scheduled to participate in several community outreach events at various local schools and at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The crew will also have the opportunity to participate in ride-alongs with San Francisco's emergency medical services staff.

"I believe [ride-alongs] are great ways for Sailors, whether they're already in the medical field or are thinking about pursuing it, to see how it's done in the civilian sector," said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Thomas Holder. "As corpsmen, we're always looking forward to any opportunity to expand our knowledge and experience."

Much planning and preparation has gone into making San Francisco Fleet Week and America's commissioning ceremony an unforgettable experience for both the Sailors and the community.

Religious Programs Specialist 1st Class Angel Pacheco, assigned to America, helped coordinate many of the community relations events and said he looks forward to getting involved in the community.

"We had so many great experiences traveling around South America, and I think the best of them came from the outreach projects we did in the communities," Pacheco said. "I'm really excited to begin creating some memorable experiences with the San Francisco community."

The ship recently completed its maiden transit, "America Visits the Americas," where the crew engaged in cooperative maritime security operations with Colombia, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Brazil, Uruguay, Trinidad and Tobago, Chile, El Salvador, and Peru in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships that foster regional security.

The Navy officially accepted delivery of America from Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., during a ship custody transfer ceremony, April 10. It is the fourth ship bearing the name, but is the first of its class, replacing the Tarawa-class of amphibious assault ships.

As the next-generation "big-deck," America is optimized for aviation, capable of supporting current and future aircraft such as the tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey and F-35B Joint Strike Fighter.