US Navy’s Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18) arrived in Guam on February 14, following an extended underway period including 19 straight days in the South China Sea.
Charleston and its crew completed their total ship readiness assessment (TSRA) in Guam in mid-January prior to commencing their most recent time at sea. Following a brief stop for fuel in Subic Bay, Philippines, the ship conducted underway operations between January 21 and February 8 in the South China Sea.
“Charleston’s recent underway operations in the South China Sea are exactly what we have LCS deployed to the Indo-Pacific to do, rapidly respond to tasking or conduct presence operations,” said Rear Adm. Chris Engdahl, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/Task Force 76. “We continue to effectively exercise the operational potential of LCS in order to support our composite amphibious task force and validate our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region”
Working for multiple Task Force Commanders during their recent time at sea, Charleston conducted sustained operations throughout the South China Sea, executed day and night flight operations, replenishments-at-sea, live fire gunnery exercises, and routine damage control training to include main space fire drill and aircraft fire fighting training.
“A successful underway period of this nature is not possible without the determination and expertise of all hands aboard Charleston,” said Cmdr. Clayton Beas, commanding officer. “I am very proud of this crew and the teamwork they demonstrated in completing the mission. Each prolonged period of operations gives the Sailors an opportunity to put their training to use – and they executed flawlessly.”
Attached to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, Charleston is on a rotational deployment to the US 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the region, and to work alongside allied and partner navies to provide maritime security and stability, key pillars of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
As the US Navy’s forward-deployed destroyer squadron in Southeast Asia, DESRON 7 serves as the primary tactical and operational commander of littoral combat ships rotationally deployed to Singapore, functions as ESG 7’s Sea Combat Commander, and builds partnerships through training exercises and military-to-military engagements.