The U.S. Pacific Fleet announced that the Navy's first littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) will depart her homeport of San Diego on March 1 and deploy to the Asia-Pacific region for approximately eight months.
Marking the first of many planned rotational deployments to the Western Pacific for the new LCS platform, Freedom will conduct maritime security operations with regional partners and allies.
After making initial port visits in Hawaii and Guam, Freedom is expected to participate in the International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX) in Singapore and in select phases of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise series in Southeast Asia.
Freedom will demonstrate her operational capabilities and allow the Navy to evaluate crew rotation and maintenance plans. LCS platforms are designed to employ modular mission packages that can be configured for three separate purposes: surface warfare, mine countermeasures or anti-submarine warfare.
The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1), the lead ship of the Freedom variant of LCS, is expected to deploy to Southeast Asia on March 1. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy
Freedom will be initially manned by her "Gold" crew of 91 sailors to include mission package personnel and an aviation detachment to operate an embarked MH-60 helicopter.
"We are genuinely excited about our deployment," said Cmdr. Timothy Wilke, Freedom's Gold Crew commanding officer. "The men and women of Freedom have worked extremely hard to get us to where we are today, and I couldn't be prouder. We're ready to get out there, work with regional navies and show the world what this ship can do."
Freedom will remain homeported in San Diego throughout this rotational deployment to Southeast Asia. Midway through, a crew-swap will be conducted with her "Blue" crew, commanded by Cmdr. Patrick Thien.