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USS Freedom Departs San Diego for RIMPAC

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS100616-02

By Lt. Ed Early, USS Freedom Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Navy's first Littoral Combat Ship, USS Freedom (LCS 1), departed Naval Base San Diego today to participate in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010, the world's largest maritime exercise.

During this year's RIMPAC, the 22nd in the biennial exercise series, Freedom will operate in and around the Hawaiian Islands with air, land, and maritime forces from 13 other nations.

"RIMPAC is a tremendous opportunity to build upon and to refine Freedom's known surface warfare and maritime security capabilities and to break new ground in LCS employment," said Cmdr. Kris Doyle, commanding officer of Freedom's Blue Crew. "We have several 'first-of' events scheduled, ranging from air defense to anti-submarine to fire support exercises. Every day, we will be stretching ourselves to learn more about what LCS brings to the fleet and how we integrate in a multinational environment."

Freedom recently arrived in San Diego at the conclusion of a historic maiden deployment to the U.S. 3rd and 4th Fleet areas of responsibility. During deployment, the ship conducted counter-illicit trafficking (CIT) operations, making four successful seizures that yielded more than five tons of cocaine, two "go fast" drug vessels, and nine suspected smugglers taken into custody. In addition to independent operations, Freedom successfully integrated with the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Carrier Strike Group for a re-fueling at sea, high-speed operations, surface gunnery events, and Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure evolutions. The ship also completed three theater security cooperation port visits to Cartagena, Colombia; Panama City, Panama; and Manzanillo, Mexico.

The first ship of the revolutionary LCS program, Freedom is a fast, agile, and maneuverable ship designed to compliment the Navy's larger multi-mission surface combatants in select mission areas, including combating submarines, mines, and fast-attack craft threats in the littorals.

Embarked aboard Freedom for RIMPAC are Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, Detachment 2, based in Norfolk, Va., and the first tailored LCS Surface Warfare Mission Package (SUW MP), based in San Diego.

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