USS Freedom returns to San Diego from maiden deployment

SAN DIEGO - The littoral combat ship USS Freedom returned Monday to its home port of San Diego, completing its maiden deployment.

The USS Freedom, a new style agile vessel designed to fight in coastal waters in various configurations, patrolled Southeast Asia, took part in exercises with allied navies and helped out with typhoon relief efforts in the Philippines, according to the U.S. Navy.

The vessel has two crews of 53 sailors each, plus air and other detachments.

The USS Freedom left San Diego March 1 with its "gold" crew, which was relieved in August by the "blue" crew.

Cmdr. Dale Heinken succeeded Cmdr. Patrick Thien as blue crew commander on Dec. 15 during a port call to Honolulu.

It was the first lengthy deployment by the new type of ship, which was plagued by structural and mechanical problems during its development.

The USS Freedom had to undergo maintenance in port three times during the deployment, according to Stars and Stripes. The publication reported that the next LCS to deploy would be the San Diego-based USS Fort Worth, late next year.

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