Chief Culinary Specialist Morio Hall and Gunner's Mate 1st Class Clarence Hall take part in a gunnery exercise in the South China Sea, Aug. 11 aboard USS Freedom (LCS 1). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Karolina A. Oseguera)

SINGAPORE - USS Freedom's (LCS 1) LCS Crew 101 completed its first underway period since the mid-deployment crew swap, Aug. 19.

The two-week workup gave crew members an opportunity to integrate and conduct operational checks in communications, weapons and damage control.

Crew 101 also conducted focused training events integrating the embarked maritime security module and aviation detachments.

"This is the first time the core crew, maritime security and aviation detachments have operated together on board the ship since January," said Freedom's commanding officer, Cmdr. Pat Thien. "So we focused on getting our tactics, techniques and procedures back to where they need to be for us to be effective in our new environment."

Crew 101 and personnel from Freedom's embarked surface warfare mission package completed visit, board, search and seizure boarding drills, quick reaction force drills, a "Killer Tomato" exercise shooting the 57mm gun during high-speed maneuvers, and an 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) launch and recovery exercise.

"We set the stage for even more advanced drills, which flex the crew, flex the ship and flex its on board systems," said Thien. "We want to make it harder and more complex, and challenge ourselves."

"The crew worked really hard this underway," said Gas Turbine Systems Mechanic Markzel Ramas. "We worked some really long hours, and in the long run, it was worth it, because we got the ship afloat and kept the mission going."

Fast, agile and mission-focused, littoral combat ships are designed to operate in near-shore environments and employ modular mission packages that can be configured for surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare or mine countermeasures. Freedom will return to its homeport at the end of the year.