SAN DIEGO -The Gold Crew of the Navy’s first littoral combat ship, USS Freedom (LCS 1), is under new leadership. Cmdr. Timothy Wilke, the crew’s former executive officer (XO) relieved Cmdr. Matthew Weber at Naval Base San Diego.
The change of command took place in the shadow of Freedom, which is undergoing a final post-shakedown maintenance period before she conducts a deployment to Singapore next spring. Cmdr. Weber, who assumed command in February 2011 after serving as the ship’s XO, will assume the duties as deputy operations officer of U.S. 7th Fleet. The Naval Academy graduate’s previous duty stations include sea tours in Yokosuka, Japan and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and shore tours in Ft. Leavenworth, Ky., Pascagoula, Miss. and Colorado Springs, Colo. Cmdr. Wilke, a graduate of Marquette University, will command the ship on her first deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. Cmdr. Wilke’s previous duty stations included sea tours in San Diego and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and shore tours in Singapore, Italy and Rhode Island.
Freedom is the Navy’s answer to threats from high speed shallow water attack craft, mines, and shallow water submarines. Boasting a core crew of 40, the highly automated ship is capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots, making her the fastest combatant in the Navy. She is capable of embarking task focused mission modules designed specifically for littoral operations.