SINGAPORE - Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus visited the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) May 11, commemorating her recent arrival in Singapore and maiden overseas deployment to Southeast Asia.
Mabus, the 75th SECNAV, delivered remarks on the flight deck of Freedom to more than 200 foreign dignitaries and representatives from 26 countries, U.S. citizens in Singapore, and Sailors.
Mabus' remarks focused on the Navy's longstanding presence in Southeast Asia and highlighted the new role of littoral combat ships to work with regional navies and promote shared interests.
"There are many key engagements between our allies, partners and friends within this region," said Mabus. "USS Freedom was tailor made for this area and LCS is going to be one of the most crucial platforms the United States Navy has available."
Mabus stressed the U.S. Navy's continued cooperation with regional navies and coast guards to protect freedom of navigation, support maritime commerce and ensure maritime security.
Also on hand to deliver remarks, U.S. Ambassador David Adelman emphasized the growth of the U.S.-Singapore defense relationship.
"The last three years has seen our relationship deepen dramatically," said Adelman. "We are committed to a safe and secure region."
Rear Admiral Tom Carney, Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific also addressed the guests.
"USS Freedom's deployment reflects the United States' enduring commitment to stability and security in the Indo-Asia Pacific and we look forward to engaging regional navies on another level in the coming months," said Carney.
Later this month, Freedom will participate in the upcoming International Maritime Defense Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX) in Singapore. In the months following IMDEX, Freedom will join regional navies and other 7th Fleet units as a participant in select phases of exercises Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) and Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT). Occurring throughout Southeast Asia, both exercises provide Freedom opportunities to train extensively with comparable-sized ships.
Fast, agile, and mission-focused, LCS platforms are designed to operate in near-shore environments and employ modular mission packages that can be configured for three separate purposes: surface warfare, mine countermeasures, or anti-submarine warfare.
Freedom is initially manned by her "Gold" crew of 91 Sailors to include mission package personnel and an aviation detachment to operate an embarked MH-60 helicopter.
Freedom will remain homeported in San Diego throughout this rotational deployment to Southeast Asia. Midway through Freedom's deployment, a crew-swap will be conducted with her "Blue" crew.