The littoral combat ship Charleston returned to San Diego Wednesday after a groundbreaking 26-month deployment, the Navy announced this week.
The Independence-class LCS left its home port back on April 7, 2021, with its blue and gold crews rotating time on the ship during the lengthy cruise in U.S. 3rd and 7th fleets, which included patrols in the South and East China seas.
Charleston became the first LCS to conduct mine countermeasures training outside of U.S. waters and was the first Navy ship to enter the port of Manila, Philippines, since 2019.
“Returning from the longest littoral combat ship deployment to date is an extremely proud moment for our crew,” Cmdr. Matthew Knuth, the commanding officer of Charleston’s gold crew, said in a statement.
The ship’s gold crew spent three shifts “on hull” during the deployment, with the blue crew undertaking two rotations.
Crews returned to San Diego for training when they were not operating the LCS, and the crew was joined by contractors to conduct maintenance in Guam, Hawaii and Singapore, according to the Navy.
Charleston’s groundbreaking deployment comes as the Navy continues to try to shed itself of the ship class, which have not lived up to their initial billing.
Navy leaders say decommissioning the ships will free up money for other priorities.
In some cases, the Navy has decommissioned LCS that have less than a decade of service.
As the sea service and Congress debate the ultimate fate of the ship class, Navy brass has used the ships to show presence in the Indo-Pacific.
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