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US Navy deployments end for LCS Freedom

The Littoral Combat Ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) returned to port on 12 April from what the US Navy (USN) identified as the ship’s final deployment.

Freedom had been deployed as part of the US 4th Fleet, where it supported Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes counter illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.

During their deployment, the crew of Freedom and a detachment from Helicopter Sea Combat squadron 23 completed joint operations with a US Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment to support counter-illicit trafficking and improve USN-USCG naval warfighting readiness and interoperability, USN officials said.

Additionally, USN officials noted, Freedom sailed with naval assets from both El Salvador and Guatemala, strengthening naval partnerships and improving regional readiness.

In a statement, Captain Jack Fay, commodore of Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One, said. “As the navy’s first LCS, USS Freedom paved the way for the class and introduced a unique set of capabilities to the waterfront. Much of what Freedom sailors accomplished during the ship’s commissioned service will be leveraged by LCS crews around the globe for years to come.”

Freedom was the lead ship for the LCS variant built by the teal lead by Lockheed Martin. LCS 1 was laid down in June 2005, launched in June 2006, and commissioned in November 2008.

While providing counter-narcotics support, Freedom disrupted more than 2,000 kg of cocaine and 1,767 kg of marijuana worth an estimated street value of more than USD111 million, USN officials said. Most recently, on 7 April, the USN-USCG team aboard Freedom conducted a seizure of more than 1,500 kg of cocaine off the coast of Mexico.

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