Littoral Combat Ship Squadron (LCSRON) 1
The littoral combat ship (LCS) is one of the Navy’s newest, most technologically advanced and capable tools of sea power projection, distributed lethality, security, and stability in waters around the world. A fast, agile, and focused mission platform, it is designed for operation in near-shore environments, yet capable of open ocean operation independently or with a strike group. LCS fulfills a crucial role in the six core areas of the Navy’s Maritime Defense Strategy; forward presence, deterrence, sea control, power projection, maritime security, humanitarian assistance/disaster response (HA/DR). These versatile platforms are designed to employ a “minimal manning” concept. A core crew usually consists of 40-50 highly qualified, screened and selected Sailors who operate the systems, stand watch and conduct maintenance all in support of the ship’s mission. With half of the LCS fleet deployed at all times, the LCS 3:2:1 (3 rotational crews: 2 rotational ships: 1 ship deployed) rotational crewing concept provides twice the forward presence than other surface combatants, at a fraction of the cost of other platforms.
“According to this concept, every four months one of three crews is either at sea, in port conducting upkeep and maintenance, or in the schoolhouse receiving training and maintaining currency on the most advanced shipboard engineering, navigational, RADAR and weapons systems in the fleet,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ed Giron, operational support officer for Littoral Combat Ship Squadron (LCSRON) ONE. With an operational schedule this demanding, the LCS program calls on their Reserve Component (RC) Sailors to “lighten the load” and support key duties and responsibilities while the ships are not deployed.
“Our Reserve Sailors are here to help,” said Giron. “They augment the crew and integrate into the workflow by taking over responsibilities such as anti-terrorism force protection (ATFP), watch standing, and planned maintenance and upkeep.” Giron says the RC plays such a pivotal role in the LCS program, their contribution saves the Navy money and man hours. “With the size of the core crew aboard an LCS, and the amount of periodic maintenance and upkeep that is required, it sometimes isn’t possible for the crew to complete it all without some extra support,” said Giron. “The Navy could hire contractors to come to the ships and do the maintenance and upkeep, but we’d rather leverage our fully qualified Reserve Sailors, who provide an incredible value to the fleet every time they arrive on the waterfront."
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