SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Approximately 500 Department of Defense (DoD) civilians and Sailors toured the USS Freedom (LCS-1) at her new homeport in San Diego May 3.
Directed tours were conducted for the local DoD community as part of a series of open-ship events to introduce the vessel to interested personnel.
"There is a lot of interest in Freedom, the Navy's newest ship," said Lt. Cmdr. Antonio Hyde, operations officer aboard Freedom. "It's important for us to tell the story, so [Sailors] can see what the future of the Navy is going to be like."
Sailors traveled from ships and bases all over San Diego to visit Freedom.
Operations Specialist 2nd Class Robert January, stationed aboard the USS Peleliu (LHA-5), came out with coworkers to see the ship. "It's cool to see, up close and personal something we've read about," said January.
Visitors were able to tour the flight deck, Airborne Mission Zone (AMZ), Bridge, Forecastle, and Boat Deck and speak with Freedom Sailors at each location. There were also static displays set up along the pier and on board with general ship information.
With the building of more littoral combat ships, local San Diego Sailors might potentially serve on these ships in the future said Hyde. "We consider it part of our mission...to tell the story of Freedom, what we've been through, what we do and how it's different," Hyde said.
Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Vincent Hazelton, stationed at Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command (NMAWC) on Naval Base Point Loma, came out to see how Freedom's equipment compared to what he had worked with at different commands.
"This ship is definitely on the cutting edge and you can tell that the Navy is really moving forward," Hazelton said. "I could definitely see myself being a part of this [community]."
Sailors aboard Freedom took pride in sharing their ship with local DoD personnel.
"There is a big story every time Freedom accomplishes something," said Operations Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Merrill, a Sailor stationed aboard. "So we're trying to get all of our homeport Sailors to come over and see what we have to offer."
The open ship event also attracted groups of Sailors in non-sea rates that do not typically get many opportunities to tour Navy vessels.
"I'm interested in [Freedom's] capabilities and what it is," said Builder 3rd Class Anthony Turi, a Seabee stationed in San Diego. "I'm a Seabee, so I don't get many opportunities for ship visits."
J. Goodman, a local food service sale and marketing company, and Freedom provided food and refreshments to visitors outside the pier.
USS Freedom completed their maiden deployment and homeport change to San Diego on 23 April. During deployment, Freedom successfully conducted counter-illicit trafficking operations and port visits to Columbia, Panama, and Mexico in support of global maritime security.
There will be open ship events for the San Diego general public held later in May 2010.
For more news from USS Freedom, visit www.navy.mil/local/lcs1/.