USS America (LHA 6) arrives at the Royal Malaysian Navy's base in Kota Kinabalu, Aug. 14. (Royal Malaysian Navy photo)

SEPANGGAR, Malaysia - The amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) arrived in Sepanger, Aug. 14, for a port visit to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Malaysia's Sabah state.

While in Kota Kinabalu, America Sailors and embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Marines will have the opportunity to experience the culture, sightsee and take part in Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) events.

"This port visit gives America an opportunity to experience Malaysia's culture, make new friends and build on our existing partnership," said Capt. Joseph Olson, America's commanding officer. "Our Sailors look forward to participating in good-will activities and experiencing the local culture."

Since America departed her homeport of San Diego in early July, she has steamed more than 9,500 miles across the Pacific, already making one scheduled port call in Singapore.

During the ship's transit, the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Air Combat Element and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 flew 168 sorties to accomplish nearly 500 flight hours in just over a month's time.

"We have been working really hard to ensure we are a ready crisis response team for our nation, partners and allies," said Col. Joseph Clearfield, the 15th MEU commanding officer. "Our time in Malaysia is exciting for us as it provides an opportunity for the Landing Force to conduct more training, time to rest, relax, and enjoy the rich history and culture of Malaysia."

After visiting Malaysia, America will continue training with allies and partners in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

America, part of the America Amphibious Ready Group, with embarked 15th MEU, is operating in the Indo-Asia Pacific region to strengthen partnerships and serve as a ready-response force for any type of contingency.