USS Montgomery (LCS 8) arrives at its new San Diego homeport, Nov. 8. (U.S. Navy/Seaman Trenton Kotlarz)

SAN DIEGO - Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8) completed its maiden voyage upon arriving at its new homeport of San Diego Nov. 8.

Following construction and acceptance trials at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, Montgomery set sail in September for Mayport, Florida, conducting equipment checks, system tests, and crew certification training along the way.

"I couldn't be more proud of my crew as they've conquered every obstacle in their way and thrived," said Cmdr. Daniel Straub, Montgomery's commanding officer. "From day one when we departed Mobile, the crew has performed superbly and sailed Montgomery with the expertise, cohesiveness, and precision of an experienced crew. They've proven that they can accomplish anything."

Upon departing Mayport, the ship continued testing and training and made port visits to Norfolk; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Panama City, Panama; and Manzanillo, Mexico, before its arrival to San Diego.

"I'm happy to welcome USS Montgomery to her new homeport of San Diego," said Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Forces. "Now that she is a part of our fleet, we're going to make sure Montgomery is manned and trained right, and ensure the ship and crew are ready to do the nation's bidding when called upon."

Montgomery is the fourth littoral combat ship of the Independence variant, which features an innovative, trimaran hull. The unique hull design offers unparalleled stability for marine and aviation operations in severe sea states.

"The commissioning of any ship is a special experience for every Sailor; it builds a bond -- a unique relationship between the ship and Sailor," said Master Chief Petty Officer Michelle-Ann Hastings, command senior enlisted leader. "These sailors are proudly bringing home their ship, and I could not be more proud of them and our ship."

As Montgomery pulled into its new homeport, family and friends were waiting on the pier waving signs, cheering, and craning their necks hoping for a sighting of their Sailor.

"I'm glad they all made it back safe; I'm really excited to have him all to myself again for a while," said Richelle McDonald, girlfriend of Petty Officer 2nd Class James Eggers.

LCS vessels were designed to be high-speed, shallow draft multi-mission ships capable of operating independently or with an associated strike group. They are designed to defeat growing littoral threats and provide access and dominance in coastal waters.

A fast, maneuverable, and networked surface combatant, LCS provides the required warfighting capabilities and operational flexibility to execute focused missions such as surface warfare, mine warfare and anti-submarine warfare.