Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert shakes hands with Boatswains Mate 1st Class Joyce Flynn during an all-hands call aboard the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) in Singapore, May 14. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Cassandra Thompson)

SINGAPORE - Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert held an all-hands call with Sailors stationed aboard littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1), May 14.

Freedom is the first ship of the littoral combat ship class, and is in Singapore during a maiden overseas deployment to Southeast Asia.

As part of the all-hands call, Greenert reenlisted two Sailors, pinned three newly qualified Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialists and one Enlisted Air Warfare Specialist, spoke to the assembled crew about the current and future relevance of the LCS platform, as well as current issues impacting their careers as LCS Sailors.

"I'd like to think that [Freedom's] time down here is about focusing the rebalance on fostering relationships with our regional partners, theater security cooperation and humanitarian assistance," said Greenert, who fielded questions on issues ranging from uniform changes, Perform-to-Serve, advancement opportunities and sequestration.

Greenert, the 30th CNO, also praised the crew for their continued efforts in successfully projecting the value of the LCS platform as the most integrated and versatile, non-nuclear platform to date. He emphasized his commitment to making sure that the LCS platform was adequately funded, and consistently tested. He also noted that LCS platforms could be used for a range of maritime security missions, including counter piracy, counterterrorism, special operations, Visit, Board, Search and Seizure missions and drug interdiction.

"I'm very excited about the possibilities," Greenert said. "This ship has had its challenges, like any other new platform, but this crew has been the mortar that held this wall together. They are very proud of their ship and very motivated."

Fast, agile and mission-focused, LCS platforms are designed to operate in near-shore environments and employ modular mission packages that can be configured for three separate purposes: surfaces warfare, mine countermeasures or anti-submarine warfare. Her "Gold" crew of 91 Sailors include mission package personnel and an aviation detachment to operate an embarked MH-60 helicopter initially mans freedom.

Freedom will remain homeported in San Diego throughout this rotational deployment to Southeast Asia. Midway through Freedom's deployment, a crew-swap will be conducted with her "Blue" crew.