By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brittney Cannady, SURFLANT Public Affairs Office
Norfolk, VA - In route to its commissioning ceremony in Galveston, Texas, future littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) stopped in Norfolk on Friday to conduct training with Afloat Training Group.
The third of only four littoral combat ships built and the second LCS of the steel, semi-planing, mono-hull Freedom variant, Fort Worth is set to be commissioned Sept. 22, 2012 and will be homeported in San Diego, Calif.
Although it currently has just two sister ships in the fleet, the crew of Fort Worth has enjoyed the process of getting the ship ready for service, even creating a “commissioning countdown” on the command’s Facebook page for Sailors to track.
“We’ve stopped a lot of places mostly for stores; it’s been pretty cool to go to all the Canadian ports that we’ve visited I had never been to Montreal and Vancouver.” said Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Thomas Garcia, who has been on board since 2010.
Constructed at Marinette Marine Corp. shipyard in Marinette, Wis., Fort Worth builders applied experiences from the first ship of its class, USS Freedom (LCS 1), implementing design changes that are now part of the standard design that will be included in future ships of the class.
“It’s challenging billet.” said Chief Select Gunner’s Mate David Daigle. “There are definitely pros and cons to being stationed aboard only the second ship like this, a lot of ‘firsts’. You take ownership, then you have to give it up to someone else after four months. It’s a unique experience, unlike any ship I’ve been on before.”
Fort Worth will be manned by two rotational crews composed of up to 75 Sailors, depending on the size of the mission package detachment embarked at any given time, as well as an aviation detachment.
Fort Worth, a high-speed steel mono-hull ship, is designed to defeat asymmetric "anti-access" threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The 387-foot LCS will be outfitted with reconfigurable payloads, called mission packages, which can be changed out quickly, and focus on three mission areas: mine countermeasures, surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare.