Royal Navy destroyer makes history with the US Navy as HMS Queen Elizabeth joins American and Japanese warships at sea

THE captain of a £1bn British warship has lavished praise on the skipper of an American assault vessel after being part of a ground-breaking moment in US Navy history.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 5:43 pm

USS America - the US Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious assault ship, carried out an historic refuelling of Portsmouth-based destroyer HMS Defender.

The action took place in the Philippine Sea on Friday and was the first time an American amphibious ship carried out such a manouevre with a British warship.

It was something that Captain Ken Ward, the commanding officer of USS America, was delighted to have been a part of.

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American Sailors assigned to the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS America, man the rails before a fueling-at-sea with Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender. Photo: US Navy.

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He said: ‘The America team thoroughly enjoyed having our Royal Navy brethren alongside today.

‘Today’s operations with Defender not only extended their operational time on station to support our combined missions, it provided another opportunity to demonstrate our interoperability with our allies and partners as we train and operate across a free and open Indo-Pacific.’

Commander Vincent Owen, Defender’s skipper said the maritime venture was a key part of the military alliance between the US and UK.

HMS Queen Elizabeth and her carrier strike group pictured on exercise with American and Japanese warships in the Pacific. Photo: Royal Navy

He said: ‘By conducting this ground-breaking replenishment-at-sea in the Indo-Pacific we have further demonstrated our flexibility and interoperability with the UK’s most important strategic ally and partner,’ he added.

‘I’d like to thank the captain and crew of USS America for their professionalism in ensuring this unprecedented evolution was conducted safely and professionally and I look forward to working further with the US Expeditionary Strike Group 7 over the coming days.’

HMS Defender is on deployment as part of the UK’s carrier strike group in the Far East.

HMS Queen Elizabeth and her carrier strike group pictured on exercise with American and Japanese warships in the Pacific. Photo: Royal Navy

The naval armada is spearheaded by Portsmouth-based aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

This week, Queen Elizabeth linked up with American and Japanese warships as part of Exercise Noble Union.

The drill is designed to test how well the three nation’s military forces can integrate and operate together.

Commodore Steve Moorhouse, commander of the UK’s carrier strike group, tweeted: ‘The #CSG21 is taking part in EX Noble Union, which sees Japan, US and CSG21 integrated and operating together. Supporting interoperability with like minded nations. Another demonstration of the flexibility of UK carrier strike.’

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