PACIFIC OCEAN - USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Sept. 30, following a port call which included participation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Informal, hosted by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.
While moored in Pearl Harbor, Fort Worth participated in a live helicopter visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) demonstration with Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21, and a U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team. The demonstration included two VBSS teams fast roping onto Fort Worth’s flight deck as a presentation to allies from Southeast Asia in efforts to enhance multilateral partnerships throughout the region.
“Being afforded the opportunity to participate in the Secretary of Defense’s ASEAN conference has been a very positive experience for us,” said Cmdr. Michael Brasseur, Fort Worth’s commanding officer. “The teams we worked with were very impressive. I’m glad our Sailors were able to be a part of this demonstration of some our Navy’s and USCG’s top end capabilities.”
The ASEAN conference is a multi-day gathering between leaders of the Southeast Asian nations. It provides a forum to discuss ongoing relationships surrounding humanitarian and disaster relief capabilities, regional security interests, and is an overall platform for strengthening relationships throughout nations in the Southeast Asia region.
Aside from enabling Fort Worth to receive valuable parts and stores, the port call to Pearl Harbor marked a significant milestone in the ship’s story.
“The Pearl Harbor visit was also a big moment in the life of our warship,” Brasseur said. “This is Fort Worth’s first time back in the United States in nearly two years. We look forward to completing the final leg of our 8,500 nautical mile journey home from Singapore to San Diego.”
Fort Worth is currently en route to its San Diego homeport, following a scheduled deployment to U.S. 7th Fleet in support of the Indo-Asia-Pacific rebalance. Fort Worth’s deployment is part of an initiative to deploy up to four littoral combat ships to the region on a rotational basis. Fort Worth operated out of Singapore as a maintenance and logistics hub from which the ship conducted patrols and trained with regional navies during exercises and real-world events, including the search for AirAsia Flight QZ8501.
The ship is assigned to U.S. 3rd Fleet. U.S. 3rd Fleet and U.S. 7th Fleet complement one another across the spectrum of military operations in the Pacific.