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UK's newest aircraft carrier docks at Mayport for first US visit

HMS Queen Elizabeth to take part in training exercises

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The United Kingdom's newest aircraft carrier docked in Mayport on Wednesday for its first visit to the United States.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth will take part in training exercises with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

The 65,000-ton ship began its sea trials in June 2017. It departed the UK in August for its first trans-Atlantic voyage.

There are 1,500 service members on board the airship. On Wednesday, Donna Lee saw her goddaughter for the first time in over a decade.

"She's one of the first crew members on here, and I haven't seen her since 2007, Lee said. "It's definitely challenging when your loved ones are overseas and away from home but we have such a strong community that the support is amazing."

Lee said the family rented a beach house to celebrate her goddaughter's return.

Since its acceptance into the Royal Navy in December 2017, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, which is the lead ship of the Queen Elizabeth class of carriers, has completed over 1,000 deck landings undertaken by Merlin and Chinook helicopters, according to the Aircraft Carrier Alliance.

The warships in the Queen Elizabeth class of aircraft carriers are the largest ever built for the Royal Navy and carry up to 60 aircraft. The HMS Queen Elizabeth will depart Mayport over the weekend for its training exercises.