The inaugural littoral combat ship returned from a U.S. Fourth Fleet deployment, April 12. Littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS-1) was deployed to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes counter illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. During their deployment, the crew of Freedom and a detachment from Helicopter Sea Combat squadron 23 completed joint operations with a Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment in support of counter-illicit trafficking, improving Navy-Coast Guard naval warfighting readiness and interoperability.
“The crew of Freedom delivered tremendous operational success and highlighted the adaptability and versatility of littoral combat ships during a successful deployment to U.S. 4th Fleet,” said Capt. Jack Fay, commodore of Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One. “As the Navy’s first LCS, USS Freedom paved the way for the class and introduced a unique set of capabilities to the waterfront. Much of what Freedom Sailors accomplished during the ship’s commissioned service will be leveraged by LCS crews around the globe for years to come.”
USS Freedom sailed with naval assets from both El Salvador and Guatemala, strengthening naval partnerships and improving regional readiness.While providing counter-narcotics support, Freedom disrupted more than 2,000 kilograms of cocaine and 3,895 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated street value of more than 111 million dollars. Most recently, the Coast Guard-Navy team aboard Freedom conducted a seizure of more than 1,500 kilograms of cocaine off the coast of Mexico, April 7.
USS Freedom (LCS-1) is the lead ship of the Freedom-class littoral combat ship for the United States Navy. She is the third vessel to be so named after the concept of freedom. She is the design competitor produced by the Lockheed Martin consortium, in competition with the General Dynamics–designed USS Independence. She was officially accepted by the Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast, on behalf of the US Navy, from the Lockheed Martin/Marinette Marine/Gibbs and Cox team, in Marinette, Wisconsin, on 18 September 2008.
She is designed for a variety of missions in shallow waters, minesweeping and humanitarian relief, capable against submarines and small ships, but not designed to take on large warships. The ship is a semi-planing monohull design capable of over 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph). Commissioned in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on 8 November 2008, Freedom is home-ported in San Diego, and assigned to Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One. On 20 June 2020, the US Navy announced that they would be taking Freedom out of commission in March 2021, and placing her, along with Independence, Fort Worth, and Coronado in reserve. She is scheduled to be decommissioned 30 September 2021.