US Navy Littoral Combat Ship USS Charleston Concludes Extended Period in South China Sea
US Navy Littoral Combat Ship USS Charleston Concludes Extended Period in South China Sea

US Navy Littoral Combat Ship USS Charleston Concludes Extended Period in South China Sea

The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18) arrived in Guam, on Feb. 14, following an extended underway period, including 19 straight days in the South China Sea. Charleston and its crew completed their Total Ship Readiness Assessment (TSRA) in Guam in mid-January before commencing their most recent time at sea. The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18) arrived in Guam, on Feb. 14, following an extended underway period, including 19 straight days in the South China Sea. Charleston and its crew completed their Total Ship Readiness Assessment (TSRA) in Guam in mid-January before commencing their most recent time at sea. Following a brief stop for fuel in Subic Bay, Philippines, the ship conducted underway operations Jan. 21-Feb. 8 in the South China Sea.

“A successful underway period of this nature is not possible without the determination and expertise of all hands aboard Charleston,” said Cmdr. Clayton Beas, the ship’s commanding officer. “I am very proud of this crew and the teamwork they demonstrated in completing the mission. Each prolonged period of operations allows the Sailors to put their training to use – and they executed flawlessly.”

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“Charleston’s recent underway operations in the South China Sea are exactly what we have LCS deployed to the Indo-Pacific to do, rapidly respond to tasking or conduct presence operations,” said Rear Adm. Chris Engdahl, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/Task Force 76. “We continue to effectively exercise the operational potential of LCS to support our composite amphibious task force and validate our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

US Navy Littoral Combat Ship USS Charleston Concludes Extended Period in South China Sea
Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18) transits the South China Sea at full power during routine operations. Charleston, part of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, is on a rotational deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operation to enhance interoperability with partners and serve as a ready-response force in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan M. Breeden)

Working for multiple task force commanders during their recent time at sea, Charleston conducted sustained operations throughout the South China Sea, executed day and night flight operations, replenishments-at-sea, live-fire gunnery exercises, and routine damage control training to include main space fire drills and flight deck fire fighting training. Attached to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, Charleston is on a rotational deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the region, and to work alongside allied and partner navies to provide maritime security and stability, key pillars of a free and open Indo-Pacific. As the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed destroyer squadron in Southeast Asia, DESRON 7 serves as the primary tactical and operational commander of littoral combat ships rotationally-deployed to Singapore, which functions as ESG 7’s Sea Combat Commander, and builds partnerships through training exercises and military-to-military engagements.

USS Charleston (LCS-18) is an Independence-class littoral combat ship of the United States Navy. She is the sixth ship to be named for Charleston, the oldest and largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. Charleston was built by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama. Ceremonial laying of the keel was held at the Austal USA shipyards in Mobile on 28 June 2016. The ship’s sponsor, U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne, welded his initials into the keel of Charleston as part of the ceremony. Charleston was commissioned on 2 March 2019 and she has been assigned to Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One at her homeport of San Diego. The Independence-class is a class of littoral combat ships built for the United States Navy. The hull design evolved from a project at Austal to designing a high-speed, 40-knot cruise ship. That hull design evolved into the high-speed trimaran ferry HSC Benchijigua Express and the Independence-class was then proposed by General Dynamics and Austal as a contender for Navy plans to build a fleet of smaller, agile, multipurpose warships to operate nearshore in the littoral zone.

US Navy Littoral Combat Ship USS Charleston Concludes Extended Period in South China Sea
An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter, assigned to the “Blackjacks” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21, conducts a flight maneuver above the flight deck aboard Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18), during a vertical replenishment-at-sea. Charleston, part of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, is on a rotational deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operation to enhance interoperability with partners and serve as a ready-response force in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan M. Breeden)

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