LCS Freedom due in San Diego Monday

Littoral Combat Ship returns from 1st deployment

SAN DIEGO - In February of this year, a month before the USS Freedom was to deploy, the ship's captain, Cmdr. Jim Wilke, said, "Without a doubt, this will be a very important deployment for this class of ship."

Truer words were never spoken as the Navy's newest class warship has been heavily criticized almost from its inception.

"We've had challenges, no question, but it's typical of something that is so complicated," said Capt. Randy Garner, LCS Squadron 1 Commodore.

The USS Freedom was sent to operate in and out of Singapore and it did have some technical glitches, like a loss of power one time and a hydraulic problem another time that kept it in port.

"It's why Freedom deployed; it's a test platform, but we've taken lessons learned and have already redesigned and installed different components, like jet nozzles and diesel generators on newer ships in the pipeline so they don't have the same issues," Garner said.

The USS Freedom did respond with humanitarian aid to the Philippines after a typhoon and was able to work alongside other vessels without issue.

When it returns, the USS Fort Worth, the third LCS to be home ported in San Diego, will begin pre-deployment work ups and eventually operate where the USS Freedom did.

In all, some 16 Littoral Combat Ships will be a part of Naval Base San Diego as guided missile frigates are decommissioned.

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