SAN DIEGO (NNS) — The Navy’s first littoral combat ship (LCS), USS Freedom (LCS 1), will arrive in San Diego April 23, after completion of her maiden deployment.
|The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1)
Source: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Matthew J. Haran
Freedom departed Mayport, Fla., Feb. 16 for operations in the U.S. 4th Fleet and U.S. 3rd Fleet Areas of Responsibility (AOR). The ship conducted counter-illicit trafficking operations, making four successful interdictions that netted more than five tons of cocaine, seized two “go fast” drug vessels and took nine suspected smugglers into custody. In addition to independent operations, Freedom successfully integrated with USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Carrier Strike Group for high-speed operations, re-fueling at sea, surface gunnery events and visit, board, search and seizure evolutions. Freedom also conducted joint maneuvers with USS McInerney (FFG 8) and Fire Scout, the frigate’s embarked unmanned aerial vehicle. During the deployment, Freedom completed theater security cooperation port visits to Cartagena, Colombia; Panama City, Panama; and Manzanillo, Mexico. In each port, the crew conducted several community outreach events and participated in numerous professional exchanges with partner nation navies. The LCS is a fast, agile, mission-focused ship that demonstrates the latest in naval technology. The ship is specifically designed to defeat threats in shallow, coastal water regions, including surface craft, diesel submarines and mines. LCS features an interchangeable modular design that allows the ship to be reconfigured to meet mission requirements. Crew members are part of an innovative manning construct that reduces crew size, demanding each Sailor maintain high levels of proficiency in multiple fields. These “hybrid” Sailors are part of two rotational crews, “blue” and “gold” that optimize ship operability. Detachments embarked during deployment to supplement the core crew include the Surface Warfare Mission Package; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, Detachment 2, based in Norfolk, Va.; and a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment. Freedom will help provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the sea and humanitarian/disaster response within U.S. 3rd Fleet’s 50-million square mile AOR in the Eastern Pacific, as well as supporting the nation’s Maritime Strategy when forward deployed.