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SINGAPORE - The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) departed Changi Naval Base in Singapore Aug. 22, beginning a transit across the Pacific Ocean to her homeport in San Diego.
In the last month the “Iron Warriors” of LCS Crew 111 successfully completed a damage control material assessment (DCMA), light-off assessment (LOA), type commander material inspection and sea trials. The assessments were necessary to validate that the ship and crew were ready to return to a fully operational status following the repair to the combining gear casualty that occurred in January.
"I'm very proud of the entire team and our efforts over the past few months as we have worked to get Fort Worth back on line," said Cdr. Michael Brasseur, commanding officer, USS Fort Worth. "It's been a lot of hard work, but our team has performed beyond expectations and we are excited to get this ship back to sea and ultimately return home to San Diego."
Damage to the ship’s combining gears was less extensive than initial investigations suggested. A full assessment revealed that only three bearings needed to be replaced, and the repairs took less time and cost less than originally expected.
Fort Worth will make the journey to San Diego with the use of both main propulsion diesel engines, which reduces the number of underway refueling operations the ship will need during the transit.
“There are a lot of people who worked very hard to get Fort Worth repaired and back out to sea,” said Capt. H. B. Le, commodore, Destroyer Squadron 7. “Their efforts were rewarded today as the ship got underway, fully operational, and ready for her transit across the Pacific.”
Prior to the casualty, USS Fort Worth was a model of reliability for more than a year while deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet. During the first 14 months of her deployment, Fort Worth participated in the search and recovery efforts for AirAsia flight QZ8501, made 12 port visits and participated in 10 bilateral and multilateral exercises across the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
As Fort Worth demonstrated through continuous operations in 2015, littoral combat ships provide an important capability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific and planning continues for future LCS deployments. USS Coronado (LCS 4) is slated to replace Fort Worth as the rotationally deployed LCS in Singapore and is currently in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii preparing to transit to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations after participating in the recent Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) multinational exercise there.
The U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Asia-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy's largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build maritime partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability and prevent conflict.