Home Americas Second US Navy LCS retires after 13 years of service

Second US Navy LCS retires after 13 years of service

USS Freedom decommissioning
Capt. Larry Repass, commanding officer of Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) delivers remarks during Freedom’s decommissioning ceremony on September 29, 2021. Photo: US Navy

USS Freedom (LCS 1), the lead ship of the Freedom-variant and the first US Navy littoral combat ship built, bowed out of service during a decommissioning ceremony at Naval Base San Diego.

The ship retired after completing its final deployment in April this year and just 13 years after it entered service in 2008.

Freedom’s decommissioning is part of a navy plan to mothball the first four ships in the class, with the youngest having just 9 years of service.

USS Freedom is the second ship in the class to retire after the service bid farewell to USS Independence (LCS 2) earlier this year.

During the ceremony guest speaker, retired Rear Adm. Donald Gabrielson, former commander of US Naval Forces, Southern Command/Commander, US Fourth Fleet and commanding officer of Freedom’s commissioning crew, wished the current crew fair winds and following seas as they bid farewell to their ship.

“I have never in my life seen or served alongside a more capable, dedicated, devoted, talented, and inspiring group of people than the sailors I served alongside with LCS and what I have watched in every day since.” said Gabrielson. “As we acknowledge this bittersweet moment, I hope well all remember that this ship was a vehicle to learn and innovate by doing and to make real progress in a short amount of time, and that doesn’t happen with other ship concepts.”

US Navy file photo of USS Freedom

Freedom maintained a crew of nine officers and 41 enlisted sailors. The ship was built in Marinette, Wisconsin, by Fincantieri Marinette Marine and commissioned Nov. 8, 2008, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

LCS 1 is the second ship in the US Navy to be commissioned as Freedom. The first USS Freedom (ID 3024) was a 5,640-ton troop transport built in 1894 at Hamburg, Germany. Seized by the United States government in 1917, she was renamed Iroquois and operated under charter to the US Army during the rest of World War I. The ship was renamed Freedom in mid-1918 and, in January 1919, was commissioned into the Navy and assigned to the Cruiser and Transport Force. For the next seven months she engaged in returning American servicemen from France, making three round-trip Atlantic voyages. USS Freedom (ID 3024) was decommissioned in September 1919. Freedom (IX-43), an auxiliary schooner, was acquired by the Navy in 1940, and assigned to the Naval Academy where she served in a noncommissioned status as a training ship through 1962.

Freedom has been a test and training ship and was key in developing the operational concepts foundational to the current configuration and deployment of LCS today.

The navy says the decommissioning of LCS 1 “supports department-wide business process reform initiatives to free up time, resources, and manpower in support of increased lethality.”

Navy Rear Admiral Randy Crites said earlier this year that the first four LCS were not configured like the other LCS in the fleet, and would need significant upgrades.

After the decommissioning of Freedom, 21 LCS remain in service to the fleet.