US Navy Independence-class USS Jackson (LCS 6) Returns from Initial Deployment
US Navy Independence-class USS Jackson (LCS 6) Returns from Initial Deployment

US Navy Independence-class USS Jackson (LCS 6) Returns from Initial Deployment

Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Jackson (LCS 6) returned to Naval Base San Diego following its first deployment, Oct. 15. The initial deployment provided Jackson’s two crews valuable experience and supported national objectives such as the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI). Jackson Gold crew returned the ship to San Diego following two on-hull patrols throughout Oceania and the South China Sea in 2021 and 2022. While on deployment, the Jackson Blue and Gold crews conducted concurrent operations with the ship’s MQ-8C Fire Scout, an unmanned aerial vehicle, and an embarked aviation detachment from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23.

“Jackson’s deployment was a success in every possible way,” said Rear Adm. Wayne Baze. “The Blue and Gold crew patrols were invaluable to the OMSI mission, and the port visits they conducted built upon our strong partnerships with nations in the Indo-Pacific region.”

“I am very proud of my crew and the hard work and sacrifice every team member has given in support of USS Jackson’s tasking. While we conducted operations in the South China Sea, executed training exercises with Brunei, France, Germany, Indonesia, and Japan,” said Cmdr. Michael Winslow, Jackson Gold crew’s commanding officer.

Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Jackson (LCS 6) Gold crew Sailors man the rails as the ship returns to its homeport of Naval Base San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Vance Hand)

As a small, shallow-draft surface combatant, Jackson conducted unique port visits in places such as Fiji, Palau, and Tahiti. The ship hosted international distinguished visitors to include senior French Polynesian civilian and military leaders, the Governor of Saipan, senior Singaporean government and defense officials, and the U.S. ambassador to Singapore. Jackson Blue crew also deployed for two on-hull patrols during the deployment. Jackson is homeported in San Diego as part of Surface Division Eleven and Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One. As a littoral combat ship, Jackson has both a Blue crew and a Gold crew, which alternate being “on-hull” aboard the ship and “off-hull” conducting training in the ship’s homeport.

“Serving with these hardworking and dedicated Sailors on Jackson’s maiden deployment was a tremendous honor,” said Cmdr. Brian Bungay, Jackson Blue crew’s commanding officer. “I am so proud of their hard work and resiliency in keeping Jackson on mission in contested regions of the Western Pacific. Whether it be building key partnerships during CARAT Thailand and bi-lateral exercises with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, or showing off capability and strength during Exercise Valiant Shield, Jackson Blue answered the call with pride and determination.”

USS Jackson returned to Naval Base San Diego, following its initial deployment to the U.S. 3rd and 7th Fleets in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Vance Hand)

Each crew spent two periods on-hull forward-deployed aboard the ship, while the other trained off-hull in San Diego. The ship departed San Diego for its first deployment on July 11, 2021, and remained away from homeport during the entirety of its deployment thanks largely in part to the work of both crews and Maintenance Execution Teams (METs) that met Jackson in maintenance hubs throughout Oceania to include Guam, Hawaii, and Singapore. LCS are versatile, mission-focused platforms designed to operate in near-shore environments and win against 21st-century coastal threats. These ships provide forward presence and conduct maritime security, sea control, and deterrence missions both near-shore and on the high seas.

Expeditionary Strike Group 3 comprises four amphibious squadrons, 11 amphibious warships, and eight naval support elements including approximately 18,000 active-duty and reserve Sailors and Marines. As Deputy Commander for Amphibious and Littoral Warfare, U.S. 3rd Fleet; Commander, ESG 3 also oversees the 14 littoral combat ships under Littoral Combat Ship Squadron 1 and Mine Countermeasures Group 3. ESG 3 is postured in support of U.S. 3rd Fleet as a globally responsive and scalable naval command element, capable of generating, deploying, and employing naval forces and formations for crisis and contingency response, forward presence, and major combat operations.

Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Jackson (LCS 6) returns to its homeport of Naval Base San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Vance Hand)