Chief Gunner's Mate Adan Macias embraces his son during a homecoming celebration for LCS Crew 204 at San Diego International Airport, April 16. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Zachary Bell)

SAN DIEGO - Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Crew 204, which had been deployed aboard USS Coronado (LCS 4) since June 2016, returned to San Diego April 16 following the ship's maiden deployment in support of operations with regional navies in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

Crew 204 turned the ship over to Crew 203 April 15, marking the midway point of Coronado's overseas deployment to the Asia-Pacific region, and the halfway point of the first Independence variant LCS deployment.

Crew 204, commanded by Cmdr. Scott Larson of Arlington, Mass. took part in maritime security operations, cooperative visit board search and seizure exercises with partner nation navies, theater security cooperation engagements and freedom of navigation patrols while embarked in the region.

"It truly has been an honor and privilege for this crew to lead Coronado on her maiden deployment," said Larson. "We made a meaningful contribution to maintaining regional stability in a highly dynamic theater of operations, and demonstrated the important role that LCS can play with respect to strengthening bilateral relationships and enhancing interoperability with key maritime partners."

Coronado's first rotational deployment began after participation in Rim of the Pacific 2016, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. During RIMPAC, Coronado participated in several multi-nation exchanges and successfully launched a Harpoon missile, further developing the Navy's understanding of structural engineering for an installed missile system on the LCS in support of our Navy's Distributed Lethality initiatives.

"We also exposed the potential to cultivate new maritime partnerships due to the unique attributes and characteristics of the LCS platform," said Larson. "Perhaps most significantly, we accomplished all of these things while laying a solid foundation that will inform future LCS deployments and shape the direction of the LCS program in a positive and profound manner."

Since arriving in Singapore in October 2016, Coronado conducted a focused counter piracy operation in the Sulu Sea, executed maritime interdiction operations in the South China Sea, participated in Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2017, operated with several Pacific nation partners including the Royal Brunei Navy and hosted thousands of visitors from throughout Southeast Asia.

"What our ships offer our combatant commanders cannot be understated," said Capt. Jordy M. Harrison, commander, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron 1. "LCS provide force flexibility, offering commanders options to pair capability with mission. Crew 204 and Coronado built upon the successes of the first two LCS deployments and once again demonstrated the capability and value of LCS in the Fleet."

Cmdr. Douglas Meagher salutes Capt. H. B. Le, commodore of Destroyer Squadron 7, during the exchange of command ceremony aboard USS Coronado (LCS 4), April 15. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Deven Leigh Ellis)
In this file photo, USS Coronado (LCS 4) operates in the South China Sea in February. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Amy M. Ressler)