SEMBAWANG, Singapore (NNS) -- The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) arrived at Navy Region Singapore Feb. 10 to conduct a crew swap over the next week.
Crew 104 will turn over with Crew 103 after operating Fort Worth for the first four months of her 16-month rotational deployment to U.S. 7th Fleet in support of America's strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific.
After leaving her homeport of San Diego Nov. 17, Fort Worth transited across the Pacific, making port visits in Hawaii, Guam and Jakarta. Days after arrival in Singapore - her primary logistics hub in Southeast Asia - Fort Worth got underway Jan. 2 to support multinational search efforts for AirAsia flight QZ8501 at the request of the Indonesian government.
"The first four months of our deployment presented early opportunities to showcase Fort Worth as a value added asset to the U.S. 7th Fleet commander. Our response during AirAsia flight QZ8501 search efforts showed that Fort Worth's high speed and open architecture design allowed her to quickly reposition in the Java Sea and plug in additional capabilities that were used extensively during this specific mission, such as the Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit team and side-scan-sonar gear," said Cmdr. Kendall Bridgewater, commanding officer, USS Fort Worth crew 104.
Fort Worth transited from Changi Naval Base to Sembawang for the crew swap in order to take advantage of installation facilities provided by NRS, including self-service laundry, a post office, the all hands Terror Club and Navy Exchange (NEX).
"LCS Crew 104 Juggernauts are excited to be in Sembawang to take full advantage of the Navy facilities here. The next several days will be challenging as we turn over Fort Worth to the LCS Crew 103 Rough Riders, but I'm confident that they will continue Fort Worth's success during her inaugural deployment to 7th Fleet," said Bridgewater.
Like Crew 104, Crew 103 will also have an opportunity to explore Singapore on liberty. Bridgewater encouraged the incoming crew to enjoy sightseeing in the local area and to conduct themselves as Navy ambassadors. The daily interactions with U.S. Sailors and host nations throughout the region will further enhance cooperation and goodwill.
Fort Worth is the first LCS to deploy under the "3-2-1" manning concept. This concept allows LCS to continue a more sustained forward presence and reduces crew fatigue for the duration of the deployment. It is named 3-2-1 because three rotational crews will support two LCS ships and maintain one deployed ship. Two additional crew swaps will occur for the remainder of this deployment, roughly every four months.
Following crew swap, Fort Worth will conduct port visits, patrols, and starting with Foal Eagle in March, exercises with regional navies throughout U.S. 7th Feet. Held annually with the Republic of Korea navy, Foal Eagle also marks the first exercise in Northeast Asia that incorporates LCS participation.
Fort Worth is the second LCS as part of an initiative to deploy up to four of these ships to U.S. 7th Fleet in the coming years. Fast, agile and mission-focused, LCS is designed to operate in near-shore environments and employ modular mission packages that can be configured for surface warfare, mine countermeasures, or anti-submarine warfare.
The U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Asia-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy's largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability and prevent conflict.
While no U.S. base exists in Singapore, the U.S. Navy has leased facilities from the Singaporean government for several decades, and many U.S. ships, aircraft and personnel visit Singapore each year to rest, relax and reset. Today, the U.S. military community in Singapore includes active duty personnel, government civilians, family members, and local national employees distributed among 22 commands.
Established in 2007, NRS provides administrative support to U.S. commands in Singapore and to visiting U.S., allied and partner navies. It also manages 209 family and bachelor housing units and dozens of command, administrative and warehouse facilities to support the operational readiness of active duty military personnel and their families.