PANAMA CITY, Panama (NNS)
-- Following its first transit through the Panama Canal, littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) arrived in Panama City March 25, beginning the second theater security cooperation (TSC) port visit of its maiden deployment.
While in Panama City, Freedom's embarked Sailors and Coast Guardsmen will have another opportunity to work with the Panamanian Public Forces (PPF). The PPF teamed with Freedom in February and March during counter-illicit trafficking (CIT) operations, resulting in two drug seizures in the Caribbean Sea.
In addition, Freedom's crew is scheduled to turn over two pallets of medical and hygiene materials donated by Project Handclasp to a local organization.
Freedom, which will be homeported in San Diego, is currently on its initial deployment to the Caribbean Sea and the coasts of Central and South America under the operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO)/U.S. 4th Fleet.
During late February and early March, Freedom operated out of Colon, Panama, and embarked members of the PPF during a series of CIT operations known as Operation Conjuntos. This partnership resulted in two major drug seizures in a span of eight days, with Freedom capturing a "go-fast" small boat and five suspected drug smugglers and recovering 123 bales of cocaine weighing more than 3.5 tons.
The first ship of the revolutionary LCS program, Freedom is a fast, agile, mission-focused ship that demonstrates the latest in naval technology.
Freedom's embarked units are Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22, Detachment 2, based in Norfolk, Va.; the first tailored LCS Surface Warfare Mission Package, based in San Diego; and a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment.
For more news from USS Freedom, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/lcs1/