SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) Crew 104, Detachment 1 from the "Magicians" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 35, and Surface Warfare (SUW) Mission Package Detachment 3 returned to San Diego Feb. 18.
Crew 104 and the embarked detachments completed the first four months of Fort Worth's 16-month rotational deployment to U.S. 7th Fleet in support of America's strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. Crew 103, Detachment 2 from HSM 35 and SUW Detachment 1 departed San Diego for Singapore Feb. 8.
Deployed since Nov. 17, Crew 104 transited across the Pacific, making port visits in Hawaii, Guam and Jakarta before arriving in Singapore in late December, the ship's primary maintenance logisitics hub during the rotational deployment. Crew 104 also participated in the search efforts for AirAsia flight QZ8501 in the Java Sea.
"The early stage of Fort Worth's deployment shows that we are a value-added asset to the theater commander," said Cmdr. Kendall Bridgewater, Crew 104 commanding officer. "Our response in the search efforts for AirAsia Flight QZ8501 validated that LCS is able to quickly reposition using our high speed while its open architecture design allows for additional capabilities, such as the Mobile Diving and Salvage Team, that make it a valuable platform for humanitarian assistance disaster relief."
HSM 35 Detachment 1 completed more than 230 hours with one MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter and one MQ-8B Fire Scout in support of surface warfare and search and rescue operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations (AO). Detachment 1 also searched more than 2,500 square miles in the Java Sea in support of the AirAsia search effort.
Fort Worth will employ the surface warfare mission package for her entire deployment, augmenting her 57mm gun and rolling airframe missile launcher with two 30mm guns, two 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boats and two six-member maritime security boarding teams. During the multinational effort to locate the AirAsia plane, SUW Detachment 3 conducted 107 hours of search operations in the 11-meter RHIBs.
Fort Worth's deployment to Singapore is in direct support of the Navy's strategic rebalance to the Pacific. 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. This swap is the first of three planned during Fort Worth's 16-month rotational deployment.
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.
U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.