USS FREEDOM, At Sea (NNS) -- The Navy's first littoral combat ship (LCS), USS Freedom (LCS 1), completed its operational deployment April 4 for U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO)/U.S. 4th Fleet (C4F) in the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) Area of Responsibility (AOR).
During its 47 days operating in the region, Freedom conducted counter-illicit trafficking patrols in the Caribbean Sea and off the coasts of Central and South America, in support of Joint Interagency Task Force-South, USSOUTHCOM and U.S. Coast Guard.
In a considerably short time in the AOR, Freedom and its embarked units successfully made four major drug interdictions, seizing more than five and a quarter tons of cocaine and capturing 13 suspected drug smugglers and two "go-fast" small boats.
In addition, Freedom made its first two theater security cooperation (TSC) port visits, stopping in Cartagena, Colombia and Panama City, Panama, to engage with partner nation civil and maritime forces and build upon already strong relationships in the region.
"Freedom completed all operational tasking in superb fashion, its inherent design capabilities of sprint speed, shallow draft and modularity were key enablers in accomplishing the counter-illicit trafficking mission," said Rear Adm. Vic Guillory, commander, NAVSO/C4F. "Every Sailor on the ship should be proud of what they've accomplished - they helped move our 21st century Navy forward."
The LCS class sprint speed is significantly higher than that of any other surface combatant. As such, LCS is specifically designed to defeat such "anti-access" threats, which include fast surface craft.
Its maneuverability and networked modularity compliment the U.S. Navy's multimission platforms with warfighting capabilities from littoral irregular warfare to mine, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. Freedom is an agile, mission-focused ship that demonstrates the latest in naval technology.
Freedom is scheduled to continue its deployment in the U.S. 3rd Fleet AOR and make an additional TSC port visit in Mexico before finally arriving at its homeport of San Diego in spring 2010.
For more news from USS Freedom (LCS 1), visit www.navy.mil/local/lcs1/.