SAN DIEGO - The littoral combat ship USS Independence (LCS 2) arrived at Naval Base San Diego May 2, completing the ship's maiden voyage to her homeport.
Independence, commissioned in 2010, is the first Independence-class ship to transit the Panama Canal, conduct a foreign port visit and arrive in San Diego.
"It's an honor to be the first-in-class to sail to our homeport of San Diego," said Cmdr. Gerald R. Olin, commanding officer of Independence's Gold Crew. "The crew and mine countermeasures detachment have worked hard, adapted to challenges and persevered through months away from home to get to this point. I'm proud to be with them on the pier today."
After two years of training off the coast of Florida, the ship's transit from Mayport to San Diego marks the successful completion of testing the ability of the ship's Mine Countermeasures (MCM) mission package, led by MCM Detachment 1, to detect, localize, and destroy mines in a tactical environment.
"This on-hull period has been a challenging and learning experience for us all. The biggest reward for all the hard work is to finally be here in San Diego, our homeport," said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Christopher Dotson. "Through thick and thin, family has been by our sides the entire time. This reward—being home—is for both the crew and our families."
The historic accomplishment of the 23-day transit, lead by the ship's Gold Crew, was not lost in the excitement of being home.
"This is a proud moment in my life because I feel like I have made history to be the first Independence-class ship to arrive here," said Culinary Specialist 1st Class Tenica Nerestant. "And to be a culinary specialist on board, helping make my second family feel closer to home, that just makes it even better."
Upon arrival in San Diego, Gold Crew will begin the process of turnover with the ship's Blue Crew, including a custody inspection of parts and an exchange of command.
LCS is a fast, agile, networked surface combatant designed to operate in the near-shore environment, while capable of open-ocean tasking, and win against 21st-century coastal threats such as submarines, mines, and swarming small craft.
LCS' modular, focused-mission design provides combatant commanders the required warfighting capabilities and operational flexibility to ensure maritime dominance and access for the joint force.