DOHA: The US Navy amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD-2) arrived at Doha Port for a scheduled port visit to Qatar yesterday.
The USS Essex is the largest ever US Navy vessel to visit Qatar, said a release issued by US embassy in Qatar.
Port calls, like the visit of the USS Essex, reaffirm US commitment to regional security and protecting the free and secure flow of commercial activity in the region and the surrounding waterways, and represent an expression of friendship and opportunity to deepen bilateral partnerships.
Charge d’Affaires William Grant said, “The visit of the USS Essex, an incredible display of naval technology, here in Qatar is another example of the importance of the US and Qatar’s strategic partnership. Without a doubt, the USS Essex’s visit — the largest US Navy ship to port in Doha — demonstrates the expansion of the military cooperation between our two countries.”
Embarked on the Essex are members the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), comprising approximately 1,600 of the Essex’s total 3,000 personnel aboard. The MEU’s Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211 is the first continental US-based Navy and Marine Corps force to deploy with the F-35B Lightning II, a cutting-edge fifth-generation fighter making its first deployment to the region.
The USS Essex is among the largest class of ships in the US Navy. The Wasp-class is a class of Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) amphibious assault ships operated by the US Navy. The USS Essex was built at Pascagoula, Mississippi, and commissioned on October 17, 1992.
At 844-feet long and 44,000-tons full load, the USS Essex’s primary mission is to conduct prompt, sustained operations at sea, primarily as the centerpiece and flagship of the Amphibious Ready Group.
Designed to be versatile, the USS Essex can simultaneously employ helicopters, vertical/short takeoff and landing jet aircraft, and landing craft air cushioned (LCAC), as well as conventional landing craft and assault vehicles in various combinations.
The ship’s extensive medical facilities consist of six medical operating rooms, four dental operating rooms, medical laboratories and hospital facilities capable of caring for 600 patients.