Sunday, November 09, 2008

USS Freedom Commissioned

081108-N-9269B-098 MILWAUKEE (Nov. 8, 2008) Sea Cadets stand in formation as the crew of the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) mans the rails during her commissioning ceremony at Veterans Park in Milwaukee, Wis. Freedom is the first of two littoral combat ships designed to operate in shallow water environments to counter threats in coastal regions. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Katherine Boeder/Released)

Story Number: NNS081108-20Release Date: 11/8/2008 9:46:00 PM
By Chief Mass Communications Specialist Rhonda Burke
MILWAUKEE, Wisc. (NNS) -- The crew of USS Freedom (LCS 1) ushered in a new era in naval warfare, Nov. 8 as the ship was brought to life at Milwaukee's Veterans Park before a crowd of nearly 10,000.
The ship was officially placed in commission by Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter, who remarked the Navy was commissioning not just Freedom but a new class of naval war ships.
"In this platform we are making the right investments in our future security and in our prosperity," Winter said. "For those of you who will have the privilege of serving in Freedom you will play a leading role in protecting our nation's interest and in ensuring stability of the global economy. You will also be called upon to serve in a ship whose namesake defines the very aspirations of the American people and of people the world over."
Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Gary Roughead, said Freedom will never have a more important crew than its first one, for they are the ones that set the tone and standards that will endure.
Freedom also represents a new concept in how and where the Navy is going to operate in executing the Maritime Strategy.
"USS Freedom will sail as an instrument of that strategy. Hers will be the march of the mind, with the spear and the shield, she will proclaim and insure the freedom of the seas and the freedom of the nation," Roughead said.
Freedom is an innovative combatant designed to operate quickly in shallow water environments to counter challenging threats in coastal regions, specifically mines, submarines and fast surface craft.
Following the Secretary's commissioning, the ship's two commanding officers, Cmdr. Donald Gabrielson, Blue Crew and Cmdr. Michael Doran, Gold Crew, took command, set the first watch and raised the ensign.
The first ensign flown over the ship had previously been flown over Baghdad. After its ceremonial unfurling, it was hauled down and presented to the ship's sponsor, Birgit Smith, in honor of her late husband's sacrifice in defense of freedom. Smith is the wife of Army Sgt. First Class Paul Smith, who was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the first in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Clutching the American flag and flanked by the ship's two commanding officers and two senior enlisted leaders, Smith tearfully gave the order to the crew of Freedom, "man our ship and bring her to life."
For the crew, the commissioning was the culmination of three years of hard work.
"It is great to be part of a first of class new ship that is outfitted with 21st century technology," said Mineman 1st Class (SW) Jeff Steele, who has been with the crew since July 2006. "We have worked long and hard for this day and to bring her to life and go out and operate."
A fast, agile, and high-technology surface combatant, Freedom will act as a platform for launch and recovery of manned and unmanned vehicles.
Its modular design will support interchangeable mission packages, allowing the ship to be reconfigured for antisubmarine warfare, mine warfare, or surface warfare missions on an as-needed basis.
The LCS will be able to swap out mission packages adapting as the tactical situation demands. These ships will also feature advanced networking capability to share tactical information with other Navy aircraft, ships, submarines and joint units.
Freedom is the first of two LCS sea frames being produced. Freedom will be manned by one of two rotational crews, blue and gold, similar to the rotational crews assigned to Trident submarines. The crews will be augmented by one of three mission package crews during focused mission assignments.
The 378-foot Freedom was constructed at Marinette Marine Corporation, Marinette, Wisc., and was the first naval vessel to be built and commissioned on the Great Lakes since World War II. She will be home ported at Naval Base San Diego, Calif., as part of the Pacific Fleet.
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This photo is from the ship's christening in 2006. The ship's sponsor, Birgit Smith, is the widow of the first Medal of Honor recipient from the Iraq War. Mrs. Smith donated a St. Christopher's medal worn by her husband, Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul Smith, who was killed during a firefight in Baghdad in 2003. The St. Christopher's medal and the couple's wedding rings are part of the ship's mast.
060923-O-0000X-004 Marinette, Wis. (Sept. 23, 2006) – The nation’s first littoral combat ship, USS Freedom (LCS 1) – the inaugural ship in an entirely new class of U.S. Navy surface warships – makes a spectacular side launch during her christening at the Marinette Marine shipyard. The christening ceremony included the traditional smashing of a champagne bottle across the ship's bow, performed by ship's sponsor Birgit Smith. The agile 377-foot Freedom -- designed and built by a team led by Lockheed Martin -- will help the U.S. Navy defeat growing littoral, or close-to-shore, threats and provide access and dominance in coastal water battle-space. Displacing 3,000 metric tons and with a capability of reaching speeds well over 40 knots, Freedom will be a fast, maneuverable and networked surface combatant with operational flexibility to execute focused missions, such as mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare and humanitarian relief. Photo released courtesy Lockheed Martin.

7 comments:

BillT said...

The agile 377-foot Freedom...Displacing 3,000 metric tons...fast, maneuverable...with operational flexibility to execute focused missions, such as mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare and humanitarian relief.

It's a destroyer -- they just didn't make it look *cool*...

BostonMaggie said...

What are you talking about!

Speaking as the daughter of a TinCan Sailor, I can tell you destroyers are cool.

BillT said...

*pssst*

I *know* your dad served on a DD. DDs look cool, as do DDEs.

They made the LCS destroyer-sized, destroyer-fast and gave it destroyer missions, but they made it look like "Princess Cruise Lines Meets the Millennium Helipad."

Anonymous said...

It's a destroyer -- they just didn't make it look *cool*...

Its a dangerous mindset to consider this ship as a destroyer.

Unfortunately, the Navy elected to build her to the survivability standard of an auxilary.

She is not a ship that can take very much at all in the way of punishment.

sid

BillT said...

As I said, "Princess Cruise Lines Meets the Millennium Helipad."

DD's weren't built to absorb punishment, either -- they were built to deal it out.

What the Navy did was opt for a Littoral Combat Ship that can't venture too far into the littorals and can't engage in sustained combat. The original concept called for a ship the size of a WWII corvette, designed to operate in small flotillas with other LCSs. Each ship was to have a basic weapons suite, with different modifications to specialize in different tasks in that flotilla.

Anonymous said...

DD's weren't built to absorb punishment, either -- they were built to deal it out.

Not exactly so billt...

As I posted over at Galrahn's place, it was the rugged toughness of the Johnston Hoel and Roberts that allowed them to stay afloat long enough continue fighting hurt and turn the tide at Samar.

If that battle had been lost and the Japanese had gotten down into the transports, the entire Phillipines campaign would likely have been lost.

The LCS is built to run from threats...but already its apparent thats not how she will be employed.

Don't want to hijack Ms Maggies post here. For reference, I laid out this argument here...

sid

Stella said...

I've nothing to contribute, except I think this looks awesome.