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SAN DIEGO - The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) returned to its homeport of San Diego Dec. 23 following the completion of its maiden deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).
Deployed since March 1 with her "Gold Crew", known formally as Crew 102, the ship took part in a number of theater security cooperation and maritime presence operations with partner nations in the region. In August, Crew 102 swapped with the ship's "Blue Crew" (Crew 101), which completed the deployment and will bring the ship back.
Both crews deployed with a ship's company of 53 Sailors, plus embarked air and mission detachments.
"This deployment was a huge success for the LCS program, for us as a crew, and for the Navy in general," said Cmdr. Dale Heinken, commanding officer of Freedom's Blue Crew. "The Sailors did very well executing the mission."
Crew 101 participated in the humanitarian assistance and disaster response efforts delivering life saving supplies to the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan.
"The camaraderie on this ship is great because it is a smaller ship with a smaller crew," said Electronics Technician 1st Class Bert Olaveson. "You get to know the people that you are working with on a more personal level, which made this deployment that much more rewarding."
Fast, agile and mission-focused, littoral combat ships are designed to operate in near-shore environments and employ modular mission packages that can be configured for surface warfare, mine countermeasures, or anti-submarine warfare.
Freedom will conduct operations and training within Third Fleet's 50-million square mile AOR.
U.S. Third Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.