The Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Wichita (LCS 13), along with the “Brick Bandits” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, detachment 6, is underway March 30 to support operations in U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility. Wichita will support counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. Wichita’s operations will involve practical exercises and exchanges with partner nations, supporting U.S. 4th Fleet interoperability and reinforcing the U.S. position as the regional partner of choice.
“We look forward to achieving great success for U.S. Southern Command and Fourth Fleet,” said Cmdr. Daniel Reiher, commanding officer of USS Wichita.
“Having to shift from a training ship mindset to a deployment mindset was a smooth transition,” said Command Senior Chief Daniel Gwilt. “In true WuShock spirit, the crew met the challenge head on and is ready to answer the call.”
The deployment of an LCS to the region aims to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to regional cooperation and security. The LCS’s shallow draft provides unparalleled opportunities for port access, making the ship an ideal vessel for these types of engagements. Wichita will initially be manned by its crew of more than 100 Sailors, including mine warfare mission-package personnel; a U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment; and an aviation detachment, who will operate an embarked MH-60 helicopter and MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff/Unmanned Vehicles.
USS Wichita is attached to U.S. 2nd Fleet and is one of two deployable littoral combat ships under Mine Division Two Two. USS Wichita (LCS-13) is a Freedom-class littoral combat ship of the United States Navy, the third ship named after Wichita, the largest city in Kansas. Wichita is deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet of operations to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which include counter illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.