The littoral combat ship Independence (LCS 2) underway during builder's trials.
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(PENSACOLA NEWS JOURNAL (FL) 17 MAR 10) ...Tom Ninestine

The familiar skyline of Mobile will change Mar. 26 when the USS Independence sets sail for Norfolk, Va.

The ship's departure comes four years after the keel was laid on Jan. 19, 2006; and all major milestones, including an Oct. 4, 2008, christening and the Jan. 16, 2010 commissioning, have taken place in Mobile, a Navy news release said.

LCS is a fast, agile, mission-focused ship that demonstrates the latest in Naval warfighting technology, the release said.

The ship is specifically designed to defeat "anti-access" threats in shallow, coastal water regions, including fast surface craft, quiet diesel submarines, and mines. To meet the combatant commander's increased demand for mission-tailored forces packages, LCS features an interchangeable modular design that allows the ship to be reconfigured to meet mission requirements.

"LCS also reflects an innovative manning construct that reduces crew size, demanding each sailor maintain high levels of proficiency in multiple fields, and optimizes ship operability with multiple crews." the release said.

The Independence is staffed by two rotational crews, "blue" and "gold," of 40 sailors each. These crews are further augmented by detachment specialists for each of the mission modules.

Once in Norfolk, Independence will conduct further testing and evaluation before eventually heading toward its home port in San Diego, Calif.

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